The turbocharger of Tommi Makinen's Mitsubishi has been ruled illegal by the scrutineers of Rally Australia, handing a controversial victory to fellow Finn Marcus Gronholm.
An FIA technical delegate examined the turbo after the rally and found it did not comply with homologation rules, thereby ruling Makinen's first win for ten months inadmissible. The sport's governing body also stated this morning that it appeared the turbo's non-compliance was a genuine mistake, rather than deliberate attempt by the Mitsubishi team to gain an unfair advantage.
In a brief statement released following the decision to disqualify the four-times world champion, the stewards said that, under the circumstances, no further penalty would be imposed on the entrant. The Mitsubishi Ralliart team has said that it would not be appealing against the stewards' decision, and agreed that the non-compliance of the turbo was a genuine mistake.
The change in the rally result, and the extra points for Peugeot, mean that it has now won the Manufacturers' Championship - even if Ford equalled Peugeot's championship points by coming first and second in the Rally of Great Britain, as Peugeot would win the Championship on a countback.
The Telstra Rally Australia result also puts Gronholm in a nearly unbeatable position to clinch the Drivers' Championship to ensure a double triumph for Peugeot.
The Rally of Great Britain takes place over the weekend of 24-26 November.
The revised finishing order for Rally Australia is as follows:
1. Marcus Gronholm
Peugeot 3hrs 43mins 57.2secs
2. Richard Burns
3. Francois Delecour
4. Kenneth Eriksson
5. Tapio Laukkanen
6. Toni Gardemeister