BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team number one driver Mikko Hirvonen
has taken the win on Repco Rally Australia, after a stewards' decision demoted Sebastien Loeb
to second place.
Loeb had been declared the winner, but six hours after the official finish he was handed a one-minute penalty when it was discovered that the front suspension parts on his Citroen
C4 WRC did not comply with the homologation records for the car.
The stewards also imposed the same penalty on the Citroen
C4 WRCs of Dani Sordo and Citroen
Junior team driver Sebastien Ogier
after the team verified they also had the same parts, described as front anti-roll bar links that were longer and required additional notches. The Citroen
team did not appeal the decision.
The ruling had the effect of reversing the original one-two finishing positions and, instead of Hirvonen leading Loeb by one point in the drivers' standings, he now has a five-point cushion with just two rounds remaining in the 2009 World Rally Championship.
"It's a shame that after such a thrilling battle for three days the result of the rally is decided in the stewards' room," Hirvonen stated. "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."
Sordo meanwhile keeps third as he had a sufficient advantage to absorb the 60 second penalty, but Ogier is not so lucky and surrenders P4 to Hirvonen's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.
To see the revised Repco Rally Australia result click here.