|Surtees was initially excluded from the results by the clerk of the course for driving in a manner not compatible with general safety. He was seen to ‘crowd out` rival Henry Arundel as their cars approached the finish line side by side, forcing Arundel`s car to spin across the track into a barrier as he took avoiding action.
Surtees appealed against his exclusion to the stewards of the meeting but they upheld the clerk`s decision. Surtees and his Carlin Motorsport team then appealed to the National Court.
At the hearing, video evidence and photographic stills of the incident were reviewed and accounts from both drivers and witnesses given. Surtees agreed that he had put at least three quarters of his car off the edge of the circuit on the run to line, but believed this to be acceptable as he hadn`t driven totally off the track.
He also claimed this was the fastest route to the finish line and it allowed plenty of room on his left for Arundel to attempt his move. However, Surtees said he could not be absolutely sure which side of him Arundel was as spray coming up off his tyres on a wet track severely limited visibility in his rear view mirrors. Arundel argued that Surtees must have known he was there as his car had almost drawn fully alongside.
The Court said that Surtees` actions did indeed amount to driving in a manner not compatible with general safety and ordered him to pay £1000 costs. The appeal fee was forfeit.
Release MSA07-057: Monday 24 September 2007