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Fri 30 Sep 2022

Rally leader Tanak, team-mate Neuville incur 5sec penalties

Repco Rally New Zealand Friday overnight leader Ott Tänak and his Hyundai Motorsport team-mate Thierry Neuville have both been handed 5sec penalties which will come into affect prior to Saturday morning's first stage, handing the rally lead to Toyota Gazoo Racing's Elfyn Evans.

The pair were both found guilty of the same offence at a Steward's hearing late on Friday evening local time. During SSS 1 – SSS Pukekawa Auckland Domain, the energy released during hybrid boosts on both cars was higher than the maximum value allowed for that stage (241.03 kJ and 242.04 kJ versus 240 kJ).

Represented at the hearing by acting team principal Julien Moncet and team manager Pablo Marcos, Marcos accepted the values measured and admitted that one of their engineers had made a mistake as he was not aware that the original maximum value of the hybrid boost for SSS1 had been changed in Bulletin No. 2, which was published on 21st September 2022.

He apologised for this mistake which was due to human error. The Stewards considered that, although the infringement happened on two occasions for Tänak and once for Neuville, the performance advantage was still negligible. However, the maximum value was nevertheless exceeded. They therefore decided to impose the above penalty, also considering that it is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure compliance of the car at all times.

This means overnight leader Tänak will drop to second place behind Evans, who finished Friday trailing the Estonian by just 0.2sec. Neuville will maintain his sixth place overall, 50.4sec behind Evans.

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