Hirvonen inherits Rally Australia victory

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.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen(FIN) Ford Focus RS WRC09, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

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Dafydd Larcombe - Unregistered

September 06, 2009 8:21 PM

I agree that 1 minute is not fair in comparison to Ford glass penalty. I think Citroen are very lucky to still be leading the title hunt considering whats been unearthed today. All things considered though I dont think the stewards wanted to wreck all the attention the WRC is getting right now. This just makes it more interesting, Sebastien can still win. If he wins in Spain, Danni is 2nd, all Seb has to do is win GB and he is Champion. Im sure the stewards took all this into account before they handed out the panalties. If Citroen were banned and stripped of their points the WRC would die overnight. Maybe its not fair, but its in the interest or the sports future this way

Beszti - Unregistered

September 06, 2009 6:26 PM

Justice? Each six Ford driver got six minutes 2 years ago. Today Loeb only got 1 - to kept his title chances alive??? FIA's judgment is totally incorrect!

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