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Penalties rain on WTCC drivers

Photo by FIA WTCC MediaFollowing the farcical World Touring Car Championship qualifying session at the Salzburgring, several drivers have been given significant fines and grid penalties.

Towards the end of Q2, with the clock ticking down, drivers crawled their way around the lap as no-one wanted to be at the head of the pack. As a result all twelve drivers missed the opportunity to post a final flying lap, leaving RML’s Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton provisionally on the front row of the grid.

Fourteen drivers were subsequently called by the stewards of the meeting to explain their actions and consequently several have been given fines and grid penalties, dramatically shaking up the grid for Round 9.

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In total Yvan Muller, Tom Chilton, Rob Huff, Gabriele Tarquini, Norbert Michelisz, Mikhail Kozlovskiy, Alex MacDowall, James Nash, Tom Coronel, Tiago Monteiro, Hugo Valente, Stefano D’Aste, Pepe Oriola and Darryl O’Young were called before the stewards.

It is understood that one of the main reasons for such hefty penalties was the fact that drivers were going slowly on the racing line and, in some cases, actively defending to prevent others from being able to easily pass.

RML’s Muller and Chilton have both been given 12-place grid drops, whilst Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini has been given the most severe penalty with a 24-place drop and a €6,000 fine.

Fines and penalties totalling €37,000 and 136 grid positions were handed out to the drivers as follows:

Yvan Muller, P1, fined €3,000 and handed a 12-place grid drop for Round 9
Tom Chilton, P2, fined €3,000 and handed a 12-place grid drop for Round 9
Rob Huff, P3, fined €1,000 and handed 10-place grid drop for Round 9
Alex MacDowall, P4, fined €3,000 and handed 8-place grid drop for Round 9
Gabriele Tarquini, P6,
fined €6,000 and handed 24-place grid drop for Round 9
Tiago Monteiro, P7,
fined €3,000 and handed 12-place grid drop for Round 9
Pepe Oriola, P8,
fined €6,000 and handed 16-place grid drop for Round 9
Norbert Michelisz, P9,
fined €3,000 and handed 12-place grid drop for Round 9
Stefano D’Aste, P11,
fined €1,000 and handed 5-place grid drop for Round 9
Tom Coronel, P12,
fined €4,000 and handed 15-place grid drop for Round 9
Hugo Valente, P18,
fined €3,000 and handed a 5-place grid drop for Round
Darryl O’Young, P19, fined €1,000 and handed 5-place grid drop for Round 9

In addition James Nash and Mikhail Kozlovskiy were also investigated by the stewards for driving too slow in Q1 but no further action was deemeted to be necessary.

Of those given grid drops, all threew Hondas are destined to start race one from the back of the grid after stewards decided that the Honda Civics did not conform to the technical regulations.

The final starting grid will be published on Sunday morning as, despite the penalties being numerically applied, the order in which they are applied will ultimately decide the grid.

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