The Xander Clements traction control controversy, dubbed Cheatgate by the NASA RallyCross paddock, is a cheating scandal centered around American driver Xander Clements. It involved Clements using a program to enable grip hacks in order to gain an unfair advantage.
Clements, the young American from Georgia, was a new sign to the Citroën Junior team after an impressive debut podium in a private Mitsubishi in Gifhorn in 2012C. Josh Mertz, the Citroën team owner, immediately hired the American for a full time drive in one of the teams Junior Citroëns. The following week, Clements finished ninth in Charlotte. The Citroën team was denied a podium sweep in Canada, with Brandon Lambert beating Clements out to third. After missing the sixth round at the North Proving Grounds, Clements returned for the double header at the South Proving Grounds and Negus, and dominated the two events.
After those two performances, Clements was swapped with Erdmann into the Citroën senior team. Disgruntled, Erdmann did not come to Croft. Strangely, Clements blew the engine on the Citroën not once, but twice at Croft (once in his heat and once in the LCQ) while everyone else did not have issues. This prompted race official Dylan Livengood to look into the incident, which was overlooked as the following week in Valkenswaard, Clements raced with no issue.
The third round of the championship saw a return to Germany, and another review by Dylan Livengood. In practice, Xander Clements was strangely a second quicker than the entire field...including championship leader David Krikorian. Krikorian is known as one of the best drivers on asphalt, and with the Gifhorn course being mostly asphalt, it prompted Dylan Livengood to investigate the issue. Telemetry studied from Car #36 determined that Clements had utilized an illegal program to hack into the game, and thus increase the grip of his vehicle.
Result and Outcry
Most of the field protested to the accusation. As a result, the German race was cancelled and rescheduled for the following week. What was an 18 car grid became 6, which Dylan Livengood went on to win. After that event, the 2013A schedule was cut short to the three races ran. Clements and the Citroën Junior Team had their two career victories stripped, however Citroën as a manufacturer kept them. Clements became the first driver to be suspended for cheating in NASA RallyCross history.