WRC3 winner Roope Korhonen will not be participating in this week’s Central European Rally after German police banned his car from being used in the three-nation rally event.
The legitimacy of Roope Korhonen’s license plates caused German police to prohibit his car from getting into the nation, forcing the WRC3 champion out of the Central European Rally.
Following the conclusion of the second stage of the new WRC event, which includes tests in three nations for the first time, the Finn tried to enter Germany via the Czech Republic but was turned away by German authorities.
Korhonen, who was ranked tenth in the Rally2 class, said that German authorities had discovered a problem with the car’s registration paperwork. It is known that similar issues were encountered by other Rally2 contenders.
After discovering that the registration paperwork contained numerous false details, the Italian B.M.P S.r.l team that entered Korhonen’s car was fined 10,000 euros by the FIA stewards.
“Unfortunately, our journey ended after two special stages at the German border for reasons completely out of our control,” read a post on Korhonen’s social media.
“We were on good pace, the fastest Finn in the WRC2 class.
“According to the German police, the validity of the registration plates issued for the racing car ended when the competitor pair crossed the German border on their way to Prague, Czech Republic.
“Upon returning to the service park after completing two special stages, the police imposed a driving ban on the racing car, and continuing in the competition is not possible.”
The Italian ASN and ACI have been notified of the decision for possible additional penalties.
A statement from the stewards read: “The Police found that the registration documents of car No. 37 had “diverse Fälschungen” (translation: various falsifications).
“The car registration certificate was issued to B.M.P. S.r.l. based in Lumezzane (Italy). The B.M.P. S.r.l. is an Italian Licence Holder – Lic. No. 466474.
“Furthermore, the car insurance certificate was found without insurance contract number and with some spelling errors in the contract page, which normally would not be seen in any official documentation.
“In order to be authorised to start, on Wednesday 25th October 2023 the car owner requested and obtained a new registration certificate, submitting a new insurance contract with a new car licence plate.
“This plate was subsequently found as not usable for competition by the Police and Car 37 was stopped on Thursday night after SS2 at the Czech / German border.
“However, following receipt of the documents initially produced by Competitor No. 37, on Friday 27th October the Stewards decided to summon the Team Representative of car No. 37, Mr. Matteo Bottacin, who is also a Senior Representative of the car owner B.M.P. S.r.l., in order to investigate on the suspicious car registration papers found with some falsehood by the Local Police.
“Mr. Matteo Bottacin appeared in front of the Stewards on Friday 27th October 2023 at 09.45 hrs, together with Mr. Christian Generelli as a support for translation purposes.
“Mr. Bottacin stated that he had contacted an agency called “Zollplates.com” in order to have all the documents from Germany for his competition car No. 37: German registration plate, German registration certificate for Short-term Registrations (Fahrzeugschein für Fahrzeuge mit Kurzzeitkennzeichen) and German traffic insurance.
“He further declared to have acted in good faith and apologised for his lapse. He had also already contacted a lawyer to pursue this matter with the Agency.”
The organizers of the Central European Rally have also released a statement.
“The starting numbers 37, 40, 51 and 77 did not finish the first day of the Central European Rally in classification and therefore cannot continue the rally,” read the statement.
“The reason was the notice of the Niederbayerische Polizei at the Czech-German border crossing in Bayerisch Eisenstein that the short-term number plates on the vehicles were not allowed to be used for the German part of the rally.
“The teams had applied for these immediately before the start of the rally, as the vehicles had been temporarily withdrawn from circulation due to a lack of registration.
“The vehicles were therefore prohibited from continuing their journey and were loaded onto trailers at the border and brought back to the service park.”