Sainz Hit By 10-Minute Penalty
Dakar Rally leader and Peugeot driver Carlos Sainz on Monday received a 10-minute penalty for allegedly having hit Dutch quadbike champion Kees Koolen. Sainz has said that he did not hit anyone and that he was disappointed and disgusted that he was being accused of having done so, and Peugeot has indicated that they would appeal the penalty decision.
Head of sport at Peugeot, Bruno Famin, said that the manufacturer was especially concerned about the penalty as it left the door open for any competitor coming to the fore to say that someone else had almost collided with them, knowing that this would then attract a penalty.
Koolen: Sainz Failed To Stop
Koolen, in turn, is now threatening to institute criminal proceedings against Sainz in the event that a larger penalty isn’t imposed. Koolen insists that Sainz did in fact hit him with his Peugeot, must have realised that he did, and still failed to stop to even check whether he (Koolen) was injured.
In fact, Koolen is of the opinion that he is lucky to have survived the incident. He claims that he was riding approximately 20km/h and that Sainz was doing between 120 and 180km/h. He says that he is convinced that if Sainz’ Peugeot had hit his quadbike a mere 20cm to the left, he (Koolen) would have been dead.
Koolen also said that what bothered him the most was that neither Sainz nor Peugeot have bothered to apologise to him or even acknowledge that there had been an incident. Referring to his damaged quadbike, he wanted to know how it came to be damaged if what Sainz had said was true, that a collision had not taken place. He confirmed that he had the damaged parts of the bike in his possession and that these would be handed over to a mechanical engineer and other experts for further assessments when he returned home from the Dakar.
According to Koolen, it would probably have been preferable for Peugeot and Sainz had he in fact not survived the incident, because then, he would not have been able to talk about what had happened.
He also lashed out against the organisers of the event, saying that no one had even taken as much as a verbal statement from him before having imposed the penalty on Sainz.
Sainz remains adamant that his Peugeot did not make physical contact with Koolen’s quadbike.
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