Eryk Goczal has dominated the opening week of the Dakar Rally in the T3 Challenger category. A final victory looked certain, until the rally organisers suddenly came out with a statement on the rest day.
Eryk and his uncle Michal Goczal had been disqualified for using an illegal clutch. With the decision unable to be overturned, the EnergyLandia Rally Team reacted furiously in a statement.
"We want to emphasize that we absolutely disagree with the decision and we believe it is a wrong decision," said the team.
"According to our information, although we cannot confirm it, another team asked the race committee to check if we were complying with the rules. Their goal was to eliminate us from the race. It should be emphasized that Eryk won by more than an hour during stage six."
According to the team, the issue involves carbon parts, illegal or otherwise, in the clutch.
"From the organization's assessment, it appears that it is about the use of carbon parts in the clutch. First of all, to contradict rumors, we have studied the rules extensively and on our side nothing has gone wrong technically.
"Second, we have received confirmation from the technical race management that the use of carbon clutch is allowed. In fact, it has no impact on the performance of the vehicle."
EnergyLandia plans to appeal, although the results will no longer be adjusted, the team is distraught: "The case will be heard in 30 days, which means Eryk and Michal can no longer get a good result. Even if we are vindicated it will yield nothing."