2023 Dakar Rally: Yasir Seaidan penalised, faces disqualification for co-driver’s watch

2 Mins read
Credit: Yasir Seaidan

Penalties at the Dakar Rally are typically imposed for violations like missing waypoints or speeding, but T4 driver Yasir Seaidan has received one of the more unusual ones. On Thursday, FIA stewards announced Seaidan has been issued a thirty-minute time penalty and faces a disqualification from the race altogether after co-driver Alexey Kuzmich wore an unapproved wristwatch during Stage #4.

The Dakar Rally is partners with Rebellion Timepieces, a Swiss watchmaker who has also affiliated with racing entities like the FIA World Rallycross Championship, the Andros Trophy, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN. As part of their deal, the Rebellion Edition Dakar watch is given to all Dakar Rally participants for timekeeping.

At the end of the fourth stage on Tuesday, Kuzmich was spotted wearing his own watch. Although this might seem to be a trivial matter, Article 9.1.6 of the FIA Cross Country Rally Sporting Regulations declares, “Watches of any kind are not permitted in the competition vehicle, with the exception of the model provided by the Promoter.” Various electronics like unapproved watches and certain mobile devices are also prohibited for safety and competition reasons, the latter stemming from such devices carrying tracking mechanisms like satellite navigation.

Kuzmich defended the decision as he believed the Rebellion watch was merely a gift and was unaware it is the only timepiece permitted. He also added his team needed a watch to know the time. The stewards cited the FIA International Sporting Code’s Article 12.1.1 by explaining that “offences or infringements are punishable, whether they were committed intentionally or through negligence.”

The race’s Clerk of the Course Pedro Almeida stressed in his opening communication to the field on 30 December 2022, a day before the Prologue: “With reference to 2023 FIA CCRSR / V1 Art. 9.1.6, the watches make/model Rebellion Edition Dakar delivered by the Promoter to the crews during Administrative Checks are the only watches permitted in the competition vehicle.”

Eight other articles in the ISC were also brought up by the FIA to justify the ruling: 11.9.1 (“The stewards shall have supreme authority for the enforcement of the Code”), 11.9.3.f and g (“Within the framework of their duties, they notably may impose penalties and may decide to suspend any penalty in accordance with Article 12.2.3”), 12.3.1 (“Any breach of the Code, of the regulations of the FIA if appropriate, of the national rules, or of any Supplementary Regulations committed by any Organiser, official, Competitor, Driver, Participant, other licence-holder, or other person or organisation may be penalised”), 12.4.1.h and m (“Penalties may be inflicted as follows: time penalty and disqualification”), 12.9.1 (“A sentence of Disqualification may be pronounced by the stewards”), and 12.4.6 (“The penalties referred to in Articles 12.4.1 and 12.4.5 above may, where appropriate, be cumulated or applied with suspension of sentence”).

The time penalty adds thirty minutes to Seaidan’s Stage #4 result, meaning his original time of 5:27:57 becomes 5:57:57 and drops him from fifth in class to fifteenth. However, he remains thirty-second in the overall T4 standings after being hampered by a retirement in Stage #1. Seaidan finished third in class in the most recent leg on Thursday.

The disqualification is “suspended until the end of Rally Dakar 2023 subject to no further breach of similar nature committed by the competitor during this period.”

Seaidan plans to race for the World Rally-Raid T4 Championship in 2023. Kuzmich is a Russian co-driver using an United Arab Emirates licence, having signed the FIA’s measures condemning his country’s invasion of Ukraine. The invasion policy has resulted in many Russian entities, most notably nineteen-time Truck champion KAMAZ-master, withdrawing from Dakar save for exceptions like T1 driver Denis Krotov (Kyrgyzstan) and his navigator Konstantin Zhiltsov (neutral FIA flag).

Follow @TCFoffroad: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
Avatar photo
3563 posts

About author
Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
Related posts

Charity rally raid organiser Jean-Jacques Rey passes

1 Mins read
Jean-Jacques Rey, creator of the 4L Trophy humanitarian rally raid and the women-only Trophée Roses des Sables, died Wednesday at the age of 79.

Hans Stacey eyeing Dakar return in 2025

1 Mins read
2007 Dakar Rally Truck winner Hans Stacey is looking to head back to the event in 2025, having recently tested an Audi Quattro for the Dakar Classic. His last Dakar was in 2017.
DakarWorld Rally-Raid Championship

MING Racing Sports unveils Ford F-150 T1+, aiming for Dakar

2 Mins read
MING Racing Sports and František Brutovský plan to race their new T1+, a Ford F-150 with some inspiration from Audi, in Bajas like Poland, Hungary and Aragón before culminating in a run at the 2025 Dakar Rally.