Kronos Citroen number two driver, Daniel Sordo has lost his seventh place finish on the Rally Japan, the eleventh round in the 2006 FIA World Rally Championship, after he was excluded by the stewards for a seatbelt violation.

The Spaniard had been running in a comfortable sixth, until the penultimate stage of the event, the 24.88 kilometre Penke 2 test, when he was held up by Luis Perez Companc's stranded Stobart VK Ford. Companc had ripped a wheel off his Focus and the stage was almost completely blocked as a result. Sordo thus lost time, something that dropped him behind Toshi Arai in the final positions. However once Sordo and co-driver, Marti Marti got going again following the incident, they failed to re-fasten their seat belts properly and as a result were disqualified.

"On the penultimate stage, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti were stopped by the car of Luis Perez Companc, which was blocking the road after he went off," read a statement from the Belgian based squad.

"They lost their sixth position overall in the incident. The Kronos Racing team asked race control that their case should be studied and a notional time awarded. This request was rejected. Furthermore, the Stewards having watched the on-board cameras on that stage, noticed the Spanish crew did not correctly re-fasten their seat belts after returning to their car. In consequence, the Stewards have decided to exclude Dani Sordo and Marc Marti from the final classification of the Rally Japan 2006."

As a result of Sordo's exclusion, Kronos only score 10 manufacturers' points - thanks to Sebastien Loeb's win. Therefore BP Ford, who finished second and third, picking up 14 manufacturers' points, close the gap in the constructors' championship from 15 points to 12. Prior to Sordo's disqualification they had both notched up 14 points from the event.

Speaking before news of the stewards' decision, Sordo, who was taking in the event for the very first time, said: "The Rally Japan is fun but very tricky. Given my inexperience, I just focussed on scoring the maximum possible number of manufacturer points for the Kronos Total Citroen World Rally team. That was my job, and I did it to the best of my abilities."

For the record, Sordo's exclusion, also means he loses his two drivers' points.



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