The last Bronhorstspruit rally was marred by the controversial decision to disqualify AC Potgieter and Nico Swartz on a technicality. The disqualification prompted the Potgieter family to announce the retirement of AC Potgieter from rallying. “We will now play golf,” said Johan Potgieter, AC’s father.
The Bulletin reported the following in the 11 October edition of our paper: “When asked if he is retiring from rally driving, a simple answer was given: “I cannot confirm or deny that I am retiring from rally driving…” And that was said with a naughty grin on his face again.
I asked him why the rumours of retirement have spread like wildfire, AC enlightened me with a little more detail. He does not go into too much detail, but what it comes down to is that a complaint was lodged against him by another rally driver. The alleged complaint is regarding the new test model 1 litre Volkswagen he was driving this year. The complaint is allegedly regarding a hole, where the number plate is normally mounted, in the bumper. AC said that they will not go down without a fight and has lodged a dispute at Motorsport South Africa to contest these allegations.”
The appeal (Appeal 445) has now been conducted and the results are positive for AC and Nico. Here are some excerpts from the findings:
“In the appeal of ANTHONIE POTGIETER – APPELLANT relating to his protest against the findings of the Stewards of the 2019 TRANC4 National Rally Championship event held at Bronkhorstspruit on 28th September 2019.
MSA granted leave to appeal to competitor AC Potgieter (competitor # 2) against the decision taken by the Stewards at a protest hearing held on 28th September 2019 during Round 6 of the 2019 National Rally Championship held at Bronkhorstspruit”
All parties involved were given the opportunity to present their arguments relevant to the appeal document provided to the court.
- According to the Technical Delegate (Mr Language), it was ruled that the modification of the bumper was non-compliant as it contravened the homologation of the car and constituted a performance enhancement.
- A set of homologation documents was supplied to the Technical Delegate, who confirmed he had these documents in his possession at the event. He stated that, although the issue in dispute (front bumper modified air inlet) was stated on the document, there was no photo (photo no 19) to go with the statement and therefore he found it to be non-compliant.
a. Homologation documents with no A-143/12 Extension no 25/20 VR2N dated 24/09/19 were presented to the court as evidence. A reference on the right-hand bottom corner of the document indicated – VW POLO RS2 A143_ 12 25_ 20 VR2N 24.09.19 2. This document had been sent prior to the event. b. The court also had in its possession homologation documents with reference no A143/12, Extension no 25/20 VR2N dated 29/03/2019 and dated 11/10/19, in which the item for the Front Bumper Modified Air Inlet was not reflected. On the right-hand bottom corner of the document indicated – VW POLO RS2 A143 12 25_ 20 VR2N 24.09.19 _3. This document had been sent post the event. “
It is clear to the court that this vehicle is busy being homologated during the 2019 year and, as can be seen from the homologation documents, this process is ongoing and the homologation document is being changed as technical changes and parts are being added or removed.
The findings of the Stewards, whereby the # 2 car driven by competitor AC Potgieter was excluded from the results of the event, are set aside in their entirety and the # 2 car is to be reinstated in the event results.”
The Bulletin would like to congratulate Team AC on their winning appeal. Hopefully this will not be the end of Team AC/Nico. As Johan Potgieter said: “We will concentrate on golf.”
We hope that golf will take a back seat to the exceptional talents of AC Potgieter!