The RML Chevrolet team has won its appeal hearing lodged to the International Court of Appeal, with the Paris-based body annulling the stewards’ decisions taken at the Okayama round to grant the RBM BMW pairing of Andy Priaulx and Augusto Farfus the use of sequential gearboxes during the event.
The decision also sees changes in the championship standings, meaning that Yvan Muller wins the 2010 Drivers’ Championship title, and Chevrolet is virtually assured of winning its first Manufacturers’ title. The championship is the second won by the Frenchman, who also becomes the first WTCC driver to claim titles with different manufacturers (having achieved his maiden title in 2008 with SEAT).
The appeal was raised after RBM BMW decided to exploit a loophole in the regulations that allowed the use of sequential gearboxes, in the wake of both Alessandro Zanardi being granted the use of the gearbox set-up and Liqui Moly Engstler BMW driver Andrei Romanov being granted additional dispensation to run the transmission mid-season.
The technical regulations (as written) did not explicitly make reference to either Zanardi or Romanov as being exceptions to the decree granting the use of the sequential gearboxes, which in turn prompted RBM to gain permission to run the units themselves.
The technical regulations also grant any cars running the sequential gearboxes a reduction in the success ballast they are required to run, which in turn provided the two works BMWs with a considerable performance advantage in the Okayama round, much to Chevrolet’s howls of protest.
In a series that has been designed to allow as many manufacturers to compete as possible while trying to keep performance equalised, this event is another in a series of disputes between the principal car markers over the series’ history.
[Original images via FIA WTCC official site]