December 11, 2023

German police end WRC3 champion Korhonen’s Central European Rally

Roope Korhonen, Anssi Viinikka, celebrate WRC 3 world championship

The Finn was stopped by German police when he attempted to cross the border from the Czech Republic into Germany after completing the second stage of the new WRC event, which features tests in three countries for the first time. 

German police spotted an issue with car’s registration document, according to Korhonen, who was sitting 10th in the Rally2 class. It is understood that other Rally2 competitors encountered similar issues.

“Unfortunately, our journey ended after two special stages at the German border for reasons completely out of our control,” read a post on Korhonen’s social media.

“We were on good pace, the fastest Finn in the WRC2 class. According to the German police, the validity of the registration plates issued for the racing car ended when the competitor pair crossed the German border on their way to Prague, Czech Republic.

“Upon returning to the service park after completing two special stages, the police imposed a driving ban on the racing car, and continuing in the competition is not possible.”

The FIA stewards have since elected to issue a 10,000 Euro fine to the Italian B.M.P S.r.l team that entered Korhonen’s car after it was found that the registration documentation contained various falsifications.

The decision has been forwarded to the Italian ASN the ACI for potential further punishment. 

The stewards report stated: “The Police found that the registration documents of car No. 37 had “diverse Fälschungen” (translation: various falsifications).

These inaccuracies were recognised to include the following, not necessarily conclusive, items:

a) The plate of the car had the number FO 891A and was the type of temporary plates issued in Germany for export.

b) ‘FO’ are the initials for the place of issue ‘Forchheim’.

In the Registration paper the issuing place Hildesheim is written.

c) This type of plates can be valid for no more than one year, but in car 37 documentation the expiration date is 1 year and four days.

“The car registration certificate was issued to B.M.P. S.r.l. based in Lumezzane (Italy). The B.M.P. S.r.l. is an Italian Licence Holder – Lic. No. 466474.

“Furthermore, the car insurance certificate was found without insurance contract number and with some spelling errors in the contract page, which normally would not be seen in any official documentation.

“In order to be authorised to start, on Wednesday 25th October 2023 the car owner requested and obtained a new registration certificate, submitting a new insurance contract with a new car licence plate.  

“This plate was subsequently found as not usable for competition by the Police and Car 37 was stopped on Thursday night after SS2 at the Czech / German border.

“However, following receipt of the documents initially produced by Competitor No. 37, on Friday 27th October the Stewards decided to summon the Team Representative of car No. 37, Mr. Matteo Bottacin, who is also a Senior Representative of the car owner B.M.P. S.r.l., in order to investigate on the suspicious car registration papers found with some falsehood by the Local Police.

“Mr. Matteo Bottacin appeared in front of the Stewards on Friday 27th October 2023 at 09.45 hrs, together with Mr. Christian Generelli as a support for translation purposes.

“Mr. Bottacin stated that he had contacted an agency called “Zollplates.com” in order to have all the documents from Germany for his competition car No. 37: German registration plate, German registration certificate for Short-term Registrations (Fahrzeugschein für Fahrzeuge mit Kurzzeitkennzeichen) and German traffic insurance.

“He further declared to have acted in good faith and apologised for his lapse. He had also already contacted a lawyer to pursue this matter with the Agency.”

Central European Rally organisers have issued the following statement.

“The starting numbers 37, 40, 51 and 77 did not finish the first day of the Central European Rally in classification and therefore cannot continue the rally,” read the statement. 

“The reason was the notice of the Niederbayerische Polizei at the Czech-German border crossing in Bayerisch Eisenstein that the short-term number plates on the vehicles were not allowed to be used for the German part of the rally.

“The teams had applied for these immediately before the start of the rally, as the vehicles had been temporarily withdrawn from circulation due to a lack of registration.

“The vehicles were therefore prohibited from continuing their journey and were loaded onto trailers at the border and brought back to the service park.”

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

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