If we haven’t heard from the FIA or any other parties involved in a MERC season finale scandal by now, I guess we won’t hear about it in the near future either. For now, only Abu Dhabi Racing and Khalid Al Qassimi decided to speak out, releasing a public statement concerning the events which took place at 2014 Dubai Rally and during FIA’s International Court of Appeal “trial”. To my knowledge, we haven’t heard from Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah, who was declared a MERC champion after FIA penalized Al Qassimi.
Two videos, available on Youtube, allegedly show both incidents, even though only one was sanctioned (Al Qassimi’s). MERC rules allow the competitors to be a bit more liberal with the amount of “road” they use, meaning they’re allowed to “stray” 10 meters from the route on each side of the road. Stray more than that, and it’s up to stewards to decide on your destiny. After 2014 Dubai Rally, which Khalid Al Qassimi won by 3 tenths of a second margin to Nasser Al Attiyah, latter submitted a formal protest due to allegedly illegal road cutting by Al Qassimi. Stewards reviewed Nasser’s protest and rejected it, but he submitted an appeal to FIA’s International Court of Appeal. The latter then held a meeting at a hotel in Qatari capital Doha, which was also the stage for this year’s FIA prize giving ceremony. ICA members decided to overrule Dubai Rally stewards’ decision and penalize Al Qassimi, stripping him of the win and 2014 MERC title. Later on in Doha, Al Attiyah was crowned 2014 MERC champion for 10th time in a ceremony which included high ranking FIA officials and representatives of local authorities, both of which include members of Al Attiyah family. Reports suggest three members of IAC then received another 3 year mandate from the FIA.
For now there are no indications this case will be discussed further by concerned parties.
Khalid Al Qassimi cutting a corner at 2014 Dubai Rally, suggested he was within the allowed 10 meter mark (he was supposed to go around a mound seen in the background):
Nasser Al Attiyah’s cut, allegedly outside the permitted 10 meter boundary (road goes around the pole seen in the back):