June 20, 2014

Voices about the Lorenzo case [Update]

December 13, 2011 Rudy Oosterndijk announced, that Lorenzo, dominating winner of the PGR F1 Chinese Grand Prix, has been suspended completely from PGR Formula One. Until this time Lorenzo had achieved 14 victories and 12 pole positions in international competitions and had been honored with the RoM (Rookie of the Month) title of November 2009.

Two and a half years later, Lorenzo finally commented on his incentives. This happened one day after he was officially expelled from GRPL World Rally Championship, which he illicitly signed up for using his alias "Merton":

"It’s been probably 900 days or so since that race but as the saying goes, better late than never so maybe it’s time for a few words of explanation.

Well, I’m sorry. My fault is undeniable, it was a stupid and unnecessary thing that shouldn’t have occured and the saddest is that I can’t even deny my cheat wasn’t deliberate because it was. I suppose that „I regret it” and „I’m sorry” are the most fair and sensible words I can write in this matter and I should probably end here, but since you were waiting for this message for so long… I guess you deserve a bit more detailed view.

There are two things that I’d like to mention. The first one that may be important for the organizers of this competition and other drivers who were taking part in it is that I never meant to use the cheat in order to disturb the championship nor to achieve unjust advantage in fighting for a good final position. Even before I was caught I decided this would be my last and only one performance in the season. Actually I don’t know what was the purpose for which I’ve done what I’ve done, probably I must have thought of it as of a “display of power” or maybe a kind of advertisement for my training method I presented in the after race interview – anyway, it was an infantile behaviour but again, it wasn’t aimed against anyone. Therefore I'm sorry if it caused any harm to anyone. And particular apologies for the those who wasted their time on investigation.

The second point is quite positive I think, because I won’t lie if I say that you can be completely sure that was the first and only one deliberate wrongdoing of mine in the international championships and all of my previous performances were perfectly fair, as well as the future ones will be. Again, I send my apology to everyone who were offended by my behaviour and I promise “I won’t do it again” ;)


The following interview was held by Reh on Sunday, December 18, 2011.
Question: Rudy, together with Majortom you said that you have proved the illegality of Lorenzo's races and shared "a detailed description of this technique with the relevant group of people". Why not with the whole community and who is relevant?
Rudy: First off all, please let me say that we were all shocked when our initial doubts about the performance of such a highly-decorated driver turned out to be reasonable. In the end and in retrospect, the question arises if all of these decorations were the result of bad sportsmanship. It would be a shame if this question mark kept hanging over his former performances in other GeneRally competitions.

For the sake of clarity and our own peace of mind, we decided to examine the Formula One results on the Polish forums. The similarities are striking so we can assume that Lorenzo's Chinese Grand Prix was not a single case.
The whole process of developing theories, collecting evidence and, finally, proving him guilty in both competitions took us about 2 weeks due to the complexity of his cheating technique and the enormous effort he must have put in.

We do not plan to make details of cheating attempts available for public use. Why would we? This particular piece of information is useless for the honest competitor on the forums. In PGR F1, we are well-prepared for potential imitators but you cannot be sure that our anti-cheating standards are applied in every other contest out there as well.
So we only share our knowledge about the latest developments with, in my words, "the relevant group of people" like those who are sitting next to me at the moment. Additionally, we have been in contact with the game developers and we are working on solutions that will make it even harder to exceed the limits of fair play and, therefore, will protect the interests of the great majority of drivers on the forums.

Question: Ivo, What effect will this incident and maybe biggest case of cheating in the history of GeneRally have on the International GeneRally Community?
Ivo: At the beginning I'd like to mention, that I don't see these these things in so dark colours like maybe some others. Actually every similar announcement is welcomed by me, because in my opinion it's announcement of good news for every fair driver and indeed especially for all PGR F1 drivers, who now can be sure, that by entering the PGR F1 they're in hands of really skilled and precise organizers.

To core of the question, I doubt, that this is the biggest incident which ever happened. Nothing more happened, that a guy in a competition was trying to cheat and guys organizing it made good job with catching him, so he paid the prize by forced leaving the competition and his shame will be recorded below his name in GWR forever - not for first time, not for last time. People like JTarJ (aka James C.) in past proved similar or graver cheats of certain persons too, only noting similar happened in close past, so we forgot these stories. Even if we include the dimension, which these things had for confirming reasonable suspicions on local Polish level, I know, that they don't experience similar affair for first time.

So in sum I wouldn't over-rate the importance or impact of this single affair. It will certainly give some new experience to all related to competitions (thanks to Rudy's info for relevant people), so more organizers, especially those naive, who ''do just for-fun compo, their drivers also race just for fun, so no need to expect any cheaters'', will be able to increase their measures against these malicious actions - again. People were, are and will be trying to cheat and organizers were, are and will be learning how to catch them. It's natural evolution, we just did one more step forward.

Question: Jo, Lorenzo has raced in GWR 48 events to the day, is there a possibility to prove when he has cheated? How will this affect the GWR results of the last years?
Jo.sk: I think it's totally unfair to recalculate all the past results with the Lorenzo's DQs.
The more simple and fairer is in my opinion only to delete the Lorenzo's scores and results (turning them to "DQ") and keep the results of other drivers : then the ranking won't change (almost) :
- Lorenzo will fall down at the end of the classifications.
- The best hotlapper of January 2011 become : C. Bohessef.
- The best rookie of November 2009 become : Rudy Oosterndjik.

I've already did that with some drivers but it was only for 1 or 2 events (at most 5). With 48 events of a possible cheating, it's ... incredible! And a big danger for GR. If it's proved, the punishment must be high !

Ivo: If I can add something, I believe, that Lorenzo really is a skilled and talented GR driver too and it's his own fault, that he threw a dark shadow of doubts on every single achievement, which he ever made. Although some doubts about several of the achievements may be reasonable, let's keep in mind, that unless anybody can prove in each single case, that he did something wrong, the results will be kept, because must be considered as achieved by fair ways. As mentioned by Rudy, his results in last season Polish F1 were reviewed by him and Majortom (and AFAIK Polish administration already took measures to reflect it in standings) and a revision may happen in some other cases too, but any conclusions to other results based only on the F1 facts are premature and may be misleading. And BTW care about this is a duty of each us - particular compo organizers (and indeed our responsibility towards GWR), not a duty of GWR.

Question: Is there a possibility to prevent GeneRally competitions of cheating like Lorenzo did?
Ivo: No, you cannot prevent to people from realising of their taste for cheating into malicious acts, but you can reveal them and make them responsible for their abuses, like Rudy with Majortom proved right now.

If for example directly the development team will be willing to take measures to make harder to commit cheats like which happened in this particular case (based on detail Majortom's reports), then it will be good news for everyone, but you can be sure, that a bad guy will occur again later and will try something other for taking a benefit.

Thank you so much for the interview!