FMSCI bans own President Prithiviraj after Rally of Jodhpur blunder
The aftermath of the blunder in Rajasthan, the FMSCI President is having to pay the price.
National motorsport federation FMSCI has banned its own President J Prithiviraj from officiating for three years in the wake of the organisational blunder that led to death of three, including a minor, during the ill-fated Rally of Jodhpur.
While Prithiviraj will continue to be president of the FMSCI he won't be allowed to officiate in national championships for three years. Top rally driver Gaurav Gill had crashed into a trespassing motorcycle carrying three people, including a minor, during the rally in September, forcing the organisers to call off the rally.
A shocked Gill was granted bail last month in connection with the case. The five-member FMSCI panel that included Past presidents Vicky Chandhok and Akbar Ebrahim, recommended a three-year ban on Prithviraj, event's clerk of the course (COC).
Prithviraj, who is part of the Coimbatore Auto Sports Club, was assisting rally organisers Maxperience. "The panel's recommendation is to impose a ban on the COC of the event from officiating as a COC of any National Championship events for a period of 3 years and must officiate as DCOC for one year after 3 years," read an official FMSCI note, which is in possession of PTI.
The inquiry panel's recommendations were passed unanimously by the 10-member council. Prithivraj expectedly recused himself from the meeting. The inquiry panel was headed by council member Farokh Commissariat.
When asked, the FMSCI president said he has no knowledge of the ban imposed on him. "I have received no communication yet (on the ban)," Prithviraj said. The three-year suspension for the FMSCI president is nothing short of an embarrassment for the sport's governing body.
"It is a clear case of conflict of interest. How can you be the president and a race official at the same time?" a source asked. The FMSCI has also banned event organisers Maxperience and its representative Arvind Balan for three years till December 31, 2022.
A Rs five lakh penalty has also been imposed on Prithviraj's Coimbatore Auto Sports Club which will also not be allowed to organise a National Championship outside the city till December 31, 2022.
The FMSCI also released its inquiry report, which goes:
"The FMSCI had appointed a five member Commission to analyse the Jodhpur incident with a clear view on how to improve the sport for the future, with what additional infrastructure to be provided and overall to guide the sport to a safer path.
"Subsequent to that the Commission met with the people concerned including the organizers and the competitors and submitted their findings to the FMSCI Council who met on 5th November 2019 to discuss and deliberate upon the findings.
"While it was an internal analysis conducted by the FMSCI, the Council came out with certain decisions with a clear thinking on what should be done for the betterment of the sport. Consequently, at all rallies the following points listed out MUST be followed without fail , though most points may already be in current practice.
- The route should be inspected well in advance and if deemed necessary by the route inspector then a 2nd inspection will need to be done.
- Put on record all the observations made by the Inspector make the Organizers signs report with a completion date.
- FMSCI appoints a Safety officer for the event, who would work with event CSO as per FIA /FMSCI safety guidelines.
- The FMSCI will appoint a Legal Representative and his services may be used by the Competitors and the Organisers even to clear any doubts on the legal statutory compliances. His details will be available on request.
- Sufficient publicity must be given to the Rally and the Organiser must ensure that all the villages and houses are informed of the Rally and the times at which the roads will be closed.
- All permissions must be officially translated into English and displayed on the Official Notice Board.
- The Road Books handed to the FMSCI officials must be additionally marked showing the safety marshal locations.
- The FMSCI Safety Officer will go with setter car to make sure everything in place in terms of safety.
- The stage must be sanitized 30 minutes prior start of 1st car i.e. after the 00 car passes. Thereafter the Safety Delegate will run between the 00 and 0 car whilst always ensuring that he completes the stage before the 0 car.
- If the Observer encounters any traffic on the route the stage would be cancelled.
- The interval between 0 car & the 1st car will not be more than 10 minutes if the stages are less than 15 kms and 15 mins if the stages are more than 15 kms. When the 0 car is on the stage it should be treated as if the stage is live.
- The 0 Car driver/Co driver must be experienced. The 0 car must be an appropriate Rally prepared Car suitable to the nature of the stages.
- The Organizers need to send the name of their COC well in advance and he must the experience of running at least 1 INRC event and subject to an approval from the Rally Commission.
- The FMSCI has approved a budget for the fitment of the Rally Safe equipment on 50 of the INRC cars from 2020 onwards. This equipment is currently used on all the WRC & APRC cars. This will improve the safety of events multi fold.
- The Council has taken appropriate action against the concerned organizers and officials.
[Note: This story is taken from Press Trust of India, no edits has been made. The FMSCI inquiry report has been added to the original story though]
The unfortunate incident has shocked everyone in the Indian motor sport fraternity.
[Image courtesy: JK Tyre Motorsport]