Saturday | 01 Oct 2022

Tänak slips to third as Hyundai trio hit with additional penalties

Ott Tänak has been demoted to third overall at Repco Rally New Zealand as he, along with Hyundai i20 N colleagues Thierry Neuville and Oliver Solberg, received an additional 10-second penalty for breaching hybrid strategy rules.

Tänak and Neuville were already lumbered with five-second penalties at the end of Friday’s opening leg after event stewards ruled that the energy released from their cars during hybrid boosts on SS1 exceeded the maximum value allowed for the stage.

The pair, as well as their team-mate Oliver Solberg, have now been dealt further 10-second sanctions for being in breach of the same rule on Friday’s second passage of Te Akau North. 

While Neuville remains fourth overall, Solberg fell to sixth behind Takamoto Katsuta and Tänak’s penalty drops him from second to third overall behind Sébastien Ogier. It also means he now trails championship and rally leader Kalle Rovanperä by 14.6sec with seven stages remaining. 

Providing he wins the rally, Rovanperä only needs to outscore Tänak by seven points to wrap-up the drivers’ title at this 11th round. As it stands, he is on course to better the Estonian’s points haul by 10 before Wolf Power Stage bonus points are accounted for.

Hyundai team manager Pablo Marcus and deputy team principal Julien Moncet apologised for the mistake, which they said was due to human error. 

Marcus explained that, having realised their error for SS1, Hyundai’s engineers intended to correct the hybrid boost parameters for both passes of Te Akau North (SS4 and SS7) during Service A on Thursday evening. 

However, due to the limited amount of time available, the engineer made the mistake of only modifying the parameters for SS4 and forgot to change those for SS7.

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