Originally Posted by Balkan Boy
I've been wondering since last year who was that brought to ASO's attention Robby Gordon's mischief.
It would take some inside knowledge or a hell of a guess to pinpoint where hoses go.
I have an (unconfirmed) theory on how that one could have gone down...
If - as RG has always maintained - the air inflation system they ran in 2012 Dakar is the same as they have had for a few years, then there is every possibility that a spotter* from another team noticed something (during scrutineering - or in a bivouac) that did not "conform" as far back as even a year or two earlier.
*All of the factory teams at the top of WRC and CCR have technical staff (spotters or "in team" scrutineers/spies) who are intimately versed in the standard and technical regulations, whose job it is to keep an "eye" on what the other teams are up to.
Now rule number 1. in the game is; "if you are bending the rules... make sure you don't get caught".
Rule number 2. is; "If you catch someone else
bending the rules... you have an ace in your hand."
Rule number 3. is; "Keeping an ace up your sleeve... for when you need one... it's dirty (but effective) poker..." or in other words; you don't need to protest someone who is not a threat.
RG's team was never really ever any sort of a threat to the "big guns" in 2009, 2010... perhaps 2011... so even if a "rival" team had spotted an anomaly with Gordons tyre deflation system or air restrictor (which IS inspected as part of pre-scrutineering process on the elite/factory T1 vehicles), there is absolutely no need to play that "ace" until needed.
It's speculation (and some hearsay) but there is every chance that the "restrictor infringement" could have been spotted and noted 12 months (or more) prior.
Once a "protest" is put into place... It does not even need to be successful in order to be effective (from a rival competitor teams viewpoint)... especially in a team where the "team manger/owner" and "lead driver" are one and the same... Getting them flustered enough to take their "eye of the ball" would be enough at that level to give the rival team drivers the edge out on the piste... Especially seeing as all they have to do is drive (not direct the service team schedule, park service vehicles, go to jury hearings and dig out bogged team trucks to boot
To say that RG is an integral and pivotal part of his operation is no understatement... I have no doubt he has capable people he delegates to... but from what you see (and I've heard), he is a pretty "hands on" type of guy, and can (at times) spread himself pretty thin... I have no doubt that there are other team bosses aware of this, and exploiting that fact is not something that they would be adverse to taking advantage of.
Now all this may seem pretty cloak and dagger, clandestine sort of stuff... but I can assure you - in the heyday of the Mitsubishi vs. Citröen vs. FIA days, this sort of tactic was commonplace. In fact, compared to some of the things that went on during the peak of the "T3 Proto" battles - out in the African deserts during the mid to late nineties... RG's "restrictor-gate" deal is pretty tame.
Gee... I sure hope RG is
at the start line in Peru... What...? With the Hilux's, the MINIS, the Speed team and now Nasser/Carlos with their new "buggy specials"... Hell, it'll be like duelling pistols at ten paces from all four corners of the ring and dillingers hidden in their socks!