Loeb explains Argentina time penalty
"We are asking for clarification"
World champion Sebastien Loeb has explained the circumstances surrounding the one-minute time penalty he received on Rally Argentina earlier today.
Loeb was handed the punishment for an early check-in at the regroup in Villa Carlos Paz shortly after midday. As a result the Citroen Total World Rally Team ace and co-driver Daniel Elena reached the overnight halt more than 90 seconds adrift of leader Jari-Matti Latvala and with their hopes of winning the South American event seemingly in tatters.
“Daniel told me to go in in my minute before I have to check-in,” Loeb told Wrc.com. “I went in but the red [board] where I have normally to stop had a lot of people around it, there was a box in front and I couldn’t see it. It was the first time we were here in the regrouping and I didn’t know if I was to go here or there. I continue my way and there was also another [board] missing because normally you have an exit zone [board] and that was not here to tell me to stop. I stopped 10 metres after and Daniel came to check at the right time but we got the time one minute before.”
Loeb confirmed his Citroen team has approached the rally organisers over the penalty in the hope it will be scrubbed from his total time.
“We are asking for clarification because there was a [board] missing and that means I have done this mistake,” said Loeb. “And there were 10 people around the [board] who have nothing to do there. I know how to check-in, it’s 10 years I check in and it’s the first time it happens so something was wrong. The hope is to get the time back but I don’t know, I have no idea what will happen.”
Asked if he could still challenge for victory, the 37-year-old replied: “It’s really difficult now to win for what is happening in front. If they take off the penalty yes I have a chance, if not then no.”
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