Sebastien Loeb has been given a one-minute penalty for checking in early to the midday service on day one of Rally Argentina. The World Rally Champion and five-time Argentina winner was holding fourth place, 18.9sec seconds off the lead, going into service.
With the top five already well clear of the rest of the field, the penalty will cost him only one position as he will still be ahead of sixth-placed Mads Ostberg, but it will leave the Citroen a long way from the lead battle with just four stages completed.
The team declined to comment on the penalty beyond saying that it is in discussions with the rally organizers over the matter.
A source close to the team said: "This is definitely nothing technical. It will be crazy to try and make any kind of tactics at this stage of the day. The control was really busy and the team is looking into things."
The time control is situated on a bend approaching service, and the official clock is not clearly visible to the crews as they go in. Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena evidently checked in seconds earlier than their allotted time.