This situation happen last weekend and it had some interesting interpretations of Rule 19.3.5 regarding a waiving yellow flag. Let’s see how you would rule on this…
Coming down the front straight, a white car in the distance goes into turn 1 and spins off track causing a fairly healthy dust cloud. There was no other car seen going off in front of the white car when that white car went off track. As the SE 30 leaders come down the front straight, the yellow flag is thrown at Start/Finish early enough for all 4 cars to see it.
The lead car is online (right side of track) and approaching turn 1, which is a 90 degree left hander. The second place car pulls out to the left so as to avoid the leader checking up unexpectedly or early…which does happen in this case. The driver of the 2nd place car looks way ahead and can see that the next corner worker station and the corner worker has no flags up at all. The second place driver can also see a white car driving by that corner worker station that looks to be like the one that went off track and he saw driving slowly out of the dust cloud as they approached.
The cloud is starting to dissipate and the driver in 2nd place can see through the remaining dust that the inside of the turn (where he would be driving) is clear all the way to the exit of the turn and course ahead, but the outside of the turn is not 100% visible like the inside is to him, but says he could barely see the right side edge of the track. Believing there is no car in the turn, the 2nd place driver makes the pass on the leader and races on and takes the win.
After the race, some drivers question the pass and claim a foul was committed in violation of 19.3.5 saying that the 2nd place driver passed under yellow. So it is clear, Rule 19.3.5 basically states “…NO PASSING is permitted, until completely past the incident, or until past the next manned flag station that is not displaying any Yellow Flag(s), whichever comes first.” Video from the 3rd place car (5 car lengths back) confirms the scenario, but does not have the 2nd place car’s perspective and field of vision.
The 2nd place driver was DQ’d for passing under yellow by the Race Director solely based on the 3rd place car’s video…at first. A conversation with the 2nd place driver yielded this:
Q: Did you see the yellow flag you passed under?
A: Yes. I saw it as we passed start/finish.
Q: You are being DQ’s for the pass in turn 1 under yellow…ok?
A: I disagree with that because the rules say…(and goes on to repeat rule 19.3.5)
Q: How is that if you made the pass going into the turn and didn’t pass “the incident?”
A: Well, if I am heads up enough to look all the way through the turn and see the corner worker has no flag up, then see what looks like the same car that went off track driving slowly past that corner worker, then see no car through the corner, where is “the incident” to pass? With no incident to pass, the way I see it, the race resumes since there was no flag up at the next manned corner worker station.
What would your decision be? Would your DQ of the driver stand? Or would you reverse your decision based on the argument that the driver presented? Defend your answer.