Seven drivers were penalised after the qualifying sessions for the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) in Japan, with Thed Björk, Norbert Michelisz, Gabriele Tarquini, Yann Ehrlacher, Esteban Guerrieri and Timo Scheider all picking up three-place grid drops for race one.
The Hyundai and Honda drivers were adjudged to have “driven unnecessarily slowly on the track at the exit of T11 (slowest speed between T11 and T12 was 25-32 kph) and creating a potentially dangerous situation”.
As a result, all six drivers were dropped three grid places each for Saturday’s first race. The FIA decision added that “each driver drove unnecessarily slowly which created a potential danger. No driver was considered anymore or less to blame than the others”.
The decision drops Guerrieri from third to sixth, Ehrlacher from fourth to seventh, Tarquini from fifth to eighth, Michelisz from eighth to 11th, Björk from 17th to 20th and Scheider from 18th to 21st.
Campos Racing’s John Filippi was also handed a drop of ten grid positions for the first race for crossing the pit lane exit line. The penalty is applied to the Frenchman because it is his third reprimand of the season, dropping him to the very back of the grid after he had qualified in 19th.
As well as his penalty for going too slow, Guerrieri was also fined €600 for his car being in an unsafe condition due to “leaving the pitlane when the window protection net was not properly in place. In trying to fix the error the driver slowed to less than 30 kph. The net was not properly fixed when checked at the end of the session.”
Team Mulsanne’s newcomer Luigi Ferrara was formally reprimanded for crossing the pit lane exit line during Free Practice 2 but was not penalised.