Just in case you missed it, but late last night, after sensible folks had gone to bed, Citroen's Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen were excluded from the results of WRC counter, Rally Portugal.
This decision gave Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson their maiden FIA World Rally Championship victory in this fourth round of the season. Evgeny Novikov and Denis Giraudet were promoted to second, while Ford World Rally Team’s Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson took third.
Solberg now lies second in the drivers’ standings, just four points from the lead, after a remarkable recovery in Portugal. The 37-year-old Norwegian slipped to 13th, almost seven minutes adrift of the podium, after sliding into a ditch early in the second leg of this four-day event.
Hirvonen was excluded by the Stewards following a report from the FIA technical delegate which stated his car’s clutch did not comply with the homologation form. The report also stated that the turbine wheel in the car’s turbocharger exceeded the maximum authorised diameter. A decision on this was suspended to allow the FIA technical delegate to carry out further examinations. Hirvonen’s Citroen team appealed the exclusion and the results remain provisional pending the outcome.
And no, this was no April Fool.