Hours after taking what appeared to be his fourth victory of the 2021 Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine season, Grégoire Saucy was disqualified from the first race of the weekend at the Circuit Paul Ricard for a technical infringement.
The ART Grand Prix driver had dominated proceedings on Saturday, taking pole position by more than four-tenths of a second and then controlling the race from the front.
However, Saucy would lose the victory as scrutineers found a washer had been put onto the car the wrong way around, and despite it not being a part that would bring any performance benefit, the regulations dictated a disqualification.
“The part in question, the Belleville washer is classified with specific restrictions,” read the stewards’ decision. “Only the modifications indicated by the homologation may be carried out. At page 161 of [Tatuus] T318 technical manual the components inside the differential case must be respecting the direction and the order noted during the disassembly.
“It was noted by the team manager this was a human mistake for which they are truly sorry, and apologise accordingly. Even if there could be no gain of advantage, the stewards determined that Car 26 was therefore in breach of the technical regulations, according to article 19.14 sporting regulations and is therefore disqualified from the results of race one.”
The penalty has handed R-ace GP driver Hadrien David his maiden victory in the series, with the Frenchman now being joined in the podium positions by guest entrant Michael Belov of JD Motorsport and ART Grand Prix’s Gabriele Mini.
The championship battle has now also tightened as a result of Saucy’s disqualification, although the Swiss racer continues to hold on to top spot heading into Sunday’s second race.
Saucy sits on eighty-five points and is now only six points clear of David, who moves ahead of Arden Motorsport’s Alex Quinn into second place, albeit by just one point. R-ace GP’s Zane Maloney is a further point behind, with the top six in the championship covered by just fifteen points.
Another penalty handed out on Saturday was to G4 Racing’s Axel Gnos, who was found responsible by the stewards for the late race collision with team-mate Alessandro Famularo. Gnos will drop three places on the grid for Sunday’s final race of the weekend.