Overall Dakar Rally leader Nasser Al-Attiyah has received a €5000 [$5649] fine and a suspended disqualification for breach of sporting regulations.
The penalty was announced at 9:15 a.m. local time, ahead of Tuesday’s third stage.
The Qatari’s Toyota Hilux T1+ was found to have the data logger, FIA’s black box which reads all performance data and is supplied to every team by Magnetti Marelli, not connected to the power supply after the second stage on Monday. As such, officials deemed it a violation of Article 13.1.2 of the FIA Cross-Country Rally Sporting Regulations.
Team representative Jean-Marc Fontin explained the incident was “a simple mistake by our mechanics.” He further added that the data logger is disconnected every evening for safety reasons.
However, the black box not being connected means the car’s data, specifically as it pertains to the possible exceeding of the turbo boost, is unlikely to be available.
While the fine is payable within 48 hours, the disqualification is suspended “until the end of the rally subject to no further breach of similar nature committed by the competitor with the car No. 201 during this period,” according to a statement by officials.
The statement added, “exceptional circumstances exist in the present case, insofar as the Rally Dakar consists of 12 competition days and the infringement was discovered in the second leg and the car was in conformity in the first leg.”
“A disqualification from the entire competition does hence not seem to be proportional, especially as the competitor has confirmed to rectify the problem promptly so that his car will comply with the regulations for the following 10 competition days.”
Entering Tuesday, Al-Attiyah held a 9m16s lead over Bahrain Raid Xtreme’s Sebastien Loeb.