Ford ace extends points lead after Loeb penalised
7 September 2009

Ford's Mikko Hirvonen won Rally Australia after title rival Sebastien Loeb was stripped of the win for a technical infringement.

Loeb's Citroen team was adjudged to have fitted a non-homolgated anti-roll bar to its cars during the event, and as a result its three finishing drivers were given one-minute penalties.

See the Rally Australia picture gallery

That dropped Loeb to second on the event - and left him five points behind the title-leading Hirvonen with two events to run.

It was a cruel blow for Loeb, who thought he had ended a four-month win-less streak and hauled himself beack to within one point of Hirvonen in the title race.

The Citroen driver had been subdued during the opening day of the rally, but played himself into contention by the end of the second day, and then dominated the final day of the event.

Hirvonen, in contrast, had fought for the lead throughout, but was hampered by running first on the road on the final day, sweeping aside loose gravel for his rivals.

That left him battling Citroen's Dani Sordo for second, a place he secured by just 4.6sec prior to the Citroen drivers receiving the one minute penalty.

Rally Australia results:1. Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) 2h53m06.5s2. Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) +47.5s3. Dani Sordo (Citroen) +1m04.6s4. Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) +1m52.0s5. Sebastien Ogier (Citroen) +2m23.3s6. Matthew Wilson (Ford) +5m26.3s7. Henning Solberg (Ford) +7m17.8s8. Federico Villagra (Ford) +7m39.4s9. Hayden Paddon (Mitsubishi) +15m36.1s10. Martin Prokop (Mitsubishi) +15m44.7s

Driver's championship standings:1. Mikko Hirvonen 782. Sébastien Loeb 733. Daniel Sordo 504. Jari-Matti Latvala 365. Henning Solberg 296. Petter Solberg 257. Matthew Wilson 238. Sebastien Ogier 209. Federico Villagra 1510. Conrad Rautenbach 8 Manufacturers' championship standings:1. Citroën Total WRT 1332. BP-Ford Abu Dhabi WRT 1203. Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team 694. Citroën Junior Team 375. Munchi's Ford WRT 21

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