Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen has been promoted to an unexpected joint lead of the World Rally Championship, following the exclusion of Petter Solberg from third place of the Rallye de France-Alsace.
The Norwegian's privately-run Citroen DS3 R3 was weighed on three occasions after the final stage of the rally in Haguenau and was found to be four kilograms under the minimum weight of 1,200kg. As a consequence, the event stewards decided to exclude Solberg from the results at the end of the rally, meaning that everybody behind him moves up a place.
Crucially for the championship, this means that Mikko Hirvonen is now in the joint lead of the series with 196 points. This is the same total as Sebastien Loeb, although the Frenchman is theoretically ahead as he has more wins this year.
"It's unfortunate to inherit a position due to a rival's misfortune, but at this stage of the season every point counts," Hirvonen said. "We'll go to the next round in Spain as joint leaders of the championship and with just two rounds remaining, the fight for the title is truly wide open. I aim to be on top form in Spain and an exciting conclusion to the year is in prospect."