Jari-Matti Latvala has been confirmed as the winner of the Acropolis Rally after a series of protests lodged by Citroen against his Volkswagen team were thrown out by event stewards.
An initial protest by the French manufacturer was rejected on a technicality before further protests were lodged against both Volkwagen Motorsport – the team of Latvala and Sebastien Ogier – and the Volkswagen Motorsport II team of Andreas Mikkelsen.
The second protest centered around the fact that there were two batteries present in the three Polos in Parc Ferme, which Citroen felt was against the regulations.
VW argued that the rules allowed for teams to run a spare battery and that the second part present could only be connected for use when the initial battery had been disconnected.
The team also insisted that it had clarified the use of a spare battery with the FIA's technical delegate, something which was then confirmed when he was called to appear before stewards as part of the hearing.
With the result now made official, Latvala can celebrate his first win in Volkswagen colours, with Mikkelsen's fourth place and tenth place for Ogier also confirmed on the official results.
Latvala now sits second in the championship behind team-mate Ogier, while Volkswagen has extended its lead over Citroen in the manufacturers' championship.
“The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi Team launched a protest against the classification of the three Volkswagen Polo R WRCs driven by Latvala/Anttila, Mikkelsen/Markkula and Ogier/Ingrassia,” a statement issued by Volkswagen afterwards revealed. “This protest was rejected due to a formal error. The manufacturer then filed a further two protests against Volkswagen Motorsport (Latvala/Ogier) and Volkswagen Motorsport II (Mikkelsen). These protests also exhibited mistakes in their content, but were accepted by the sports commissioners. Both sides were summoned to a hearing to explain their viewpoints.
“The protests were directed at batteries, which, exclusively during Parc Fermé periods, are left in the cars overnight as spare parts and are then removed the following morning before leaving the Service Park. This has been common practice in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) for years. A technical delegate of the FIA approved this procedure prior to the 2013 season, upon explicit inquiry from Volkswagen.
“After extensive consultation, the sports commissioners dismissed the protests as unsubstantiated.”