Citroen says it has no objection to the penalty that cost Sebastien Loeb victory in the Rally Australia, and left him five points rather than one point behind Mikko Hirvonen going into the final two rounds of the World Rally Championship.
Loeb, teammate Dani Sordo, and Citroen Junior driver Sebastien Ogier were all penalized one minute for running non-homologated anti-roll bars on their C4s during the event.
The stewards' decision handed Hirvonen victory, dropped Loeb to second, and demoted Ogier from fourth to fifth. Sordo retained his third place as he was sufficiently far ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala before the penalties were applied.
Citroen team boss Olivier Quesnel said the part had been used in error and had not boosted the car's performance.
"We accept the decision given that the photo on the homologation form does not match the part fitted to the car," he said. "The difference had no effect on either the performance or reliability of the car; it was simply due to an administrative error and does not stem from any desire to cheat.
"On behalf of the team, I would personally like to apologize to Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena who scored a superb victory on the stages this weekend."
Loeb admitted that the penalty was a blow to his title hopes.
"I am obviously disappointed, but you've got to accept it when the regulations are applied," he said.
"Instead of being just one point behind Mikko Hirvonen, I now have a five-point deficit to make up. That clearly complicates matters regarding our bid to win a sixth title, but this won't have any effect on our determination to win in Spain."
Hirvonen was gracious about the penalty, saying he would have preferred to win in different circumstances.
"It's a shame that after such a thrilling battle for three days the result of the rally is decided in the stewards' room," he said. "I suffered a points loss in Portugal two years ago, so I know how Sebastien, in particular, must feel tonight."