GRM set to appeal Trans Am disqualification

GRM is set to appeal its Trans Am disqualification. Image: InSyde Media

GRM is set to appeal its Trans Am disqualification. Image: InSyde Media

Garry Rogers Motorsport is set to appeal a disqualification from a Trans Am Series round which has cost James Moffat the lead in the title race.

Both Cars #34 of Moffat and #45 of Lochie Dalton have been disqualified from Round 3 at Winton over breaches of two of the series’ technical regulations which prohibit modification of vehicles and use of non-controlled parts.

As at the conclusion of the most recent, fifth round of the season at Sandown last month, they had been first and second respectively in the series standings, but Elliot Barbour will take over the lead in the title race, if indeed the penalties do stand.

Motorsport Australia has confirmed to Speedcafe that GRM has lodged a notice of intention to appeal.

The grounds for that appeal are that ‘the decision was against the weight of evidence’ and also that ‘there was a denial of natural justice’.

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Speedcafe attempted to contact team Director Barry Rogers before publication but was unable to reach him.

Nevertheless, a clue as to how GRM might make its case can be found in the official ‘findings and determinations on penalty’ published by the Motorsport Australia Investigatory Tribunal which was set up to deal with the controversy.

Specifically, there is now a dispute over whether or not the aforementioned entries were competing with the modifications in Round 3.

When the tribunal found GRM guilty, per the ‘findings and recommendations’ dated August 30, that the cars competed with the modifications was based on “the only rational inference”, and furthermore that “GRM never suggested otherwise”.

On the other hand, per the ‘findings and determinations on penalty’ dated October 9, GRM submitted to the penalty hearing that the presence of the modifications for Round 3 was “incorrectly assumed” and that “it has been incorrectly inferred from our post Round 1 report, without GRM having an ability to respond to this allegation”.

There is no dispute about the cars competing with the modifications in Round 1 at Symmons Plains in February, nor necessarily Round 2 at Phillip Island, but those events are beyond the statute of limitations for a Motorsport Australia Investigatory Tribunal.

On the question then of Round 3, the tribunal’s ‘findings and determinations on penalty’ states, “Here the two GRM cars were, by GRM’s own admissions, fitted with the Modifications in rounds 1 and 2.

“They were given approval at round 2 – Phillip Island for an ‘indefinite period’.

“That leads to a clear inference that the cars were fitted with the Modifications in round 3.”

It was furthermore noted by the tribunal that GRM claimed some cars, including that of Dalton, were not fitted with the modifications in Round 4 at Queensland Raceway in August, in contrast to the lack of any such denials pertaining to Round 3.

The modifications which GRM ‘tested’ with in race conditions were approved ahead of Round 4, before Moffat won the first two races in Round 5 at Sandown and would have been classified in first position in the latter also if not for a post-race penalty for a driving infringement.

Round 6 takes place at Sydney Motorsport Park on November 3-4.

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