Hirvonen named Rally Australia winner after late-night hearing BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen have been named as winners of Rally Australia following a post-event hearing that imposed a one minute ...
Hirvonen named Rally Australia winner after late-night hearing
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen have been named as winners of Rally Australia following a post-event hearing that imposed a one minute penalty on the Citroen C4 cars that filled three of the top four places.
The stewards of this 10th round of the FIA World Rally Championship received a post-event scrutineering report from the FIA Technical Delegate which stated that the front anti-roll bar link on the car of Sebastien Loeb did not comply with the homologation form of the car. Citroen agreed that the part was different from the homologation photograph, and confirmed that the cars of Dani Sordo and Sebastien Ogier were also fitted with identical parts.
The stewards imposed a one minute penalty on all three cars, promoting the Ford Focus RS World Rally Car of Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen from second to first, and that of team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala from fifth to fourth.
It means that Hirvonen will start the penultimate round of the series in Spain next month with a five point lead in the drivers' standings over Loeb, while second-placed Ford has reduced the gap in the manufacturers' standings to 13 points.
"It's a shame that after such a thrilling battle for three days the result of the rally is decided in the stewards' room," said 29-year-old Hirvonen. "I suffered a points loss in Portugal two years ago, so I know how Sebastien, in particular, must feel tonight. This decision has a major effect on the championship standings and we now go to Spain with a five point lead."