WRC teams furious over timing issue

Autosport

World Rally Championship manufacturers have reacted angrily to the timing and tracking issues that caused major confusion on day one of the Monte Carlo season-opener.

Spanish firm Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicacion (SIT) replaced the WRC's long-standing timing and tracking provider Stage One Technology for this year, but immediately hit problems.

There were no split times on any of Wednesday's four stages, and incorrect results were listed for the afternoon - when Thierry Neuville was shown as the rally leader instead of Sebastien Loeb in a jumbled top 10.

Volkswagen Motorsport team principal Jost Capito said: "It's completely unacceptable what we have seen today.

"The FIA expects the manufacturers and the teams to be properly prepared and they are charging a high entry fee. The least you can expect is the proper timing.

"And it's not just the timing, it's security too. The FIA is pushing so much on safety, I don't know how they can run stages where the safety system is not working, where it shows up on the screen that there is an emergency, yet the car is moving. If there is a real emergency, then what will happen?

"I think this is completely irresponsible."

Capito's feelings were echoed at Citroen, where boss Yves Matton admitted the eight-time world champion manufacturer had been forced to liaise with rival teams to construct an unofficial leaderboard.

Rally leader Loeb was reported by the SIT system to have stopped on SS1, a situation that led to GPS sensors being disabled from the leading DS3 WRC.

"It's impossible to work like this," said Matton.

Sebastien Ogier's co-driver Julien Ingrassia was similarly frustrated.

"There are simple things where we don't need a revolution," he said. "It seems the big improvement in the timing and tracking for this year is that we don't have any big clocks at the start of the stage!

"We are supposed to be going forward, but sometimes we are going back to the past."

Event organiser the Automobile Club de Monaco declined to comment on the situation, underlining that the agreement is between the FIA and SIT - both of whom said the problems were being investigated.

SIT's Pedro Cieza said: "We are studying with the FIA, there have been cumulative problems and we are studying everything."

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen added: "We need to establish what happened today. Once we have all that information, we will be in a position to comment."

The event started badly with SIT's repeater plane reportedly unable to fly on Tuesday due to the bad weather conditions, a situation one team source pointed out had only happened once in 10 years with Stage One.

"Stage One would not have based the plane where SIT did, it was crazy, but that's what happens when you deal with a company without the level of experience," said the source.

One of the teams' primary concerns is that Wednesday was considered to be the easiest of the legs, running two loops of two stages close to the service park. From Thursday the rally moves further away and further into the mountains.

View comments (0)