All three Hyundai Motorsport drivers have been handed 10-second time penalties for exceeding the maximum level of boost permitted for Friday’s final stage of Rally New Zealand – the second penalty of this nature for both Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville this weekend.
Tänak and Neuville – along with Toyota’s Kalle Rovanperä – have already received a five-second penalty as their cars exceeded the permitted level of electrical boost from the hybrid system on Thursday evening’s Pukekawa Auckland Domain stage.
But they’ve both received another penalty for exceeding the maximum assigned boost limit for the second running of Te Akau North stage as well – while Oliver Solberg received his first for an SS7 infringement.
Neuville’s i20 N Rally1 overboosted by 5.4kJ, producing 145.40kJ when the limit assigned to the stage was 140kJ, while Tänak’s produced 145.71kJ and Solberg’s 145.43kJ.
Hyundai team manager Pablo Marcos had admitted when the initial penalties for SS1 were dished out that there had been a mistake within the engineering department, as they had failed to act on a bulletin issued by the event organizer that stated that the maximum permitted boost for SS1 had changed.
In the second hearing (attended by both Marcos and Hyundai deputy team director Julien Moncet) for the SS7 infringements, Marcos explained that a second human error was made.
The engineers wanted to correct the parameters for SS4 and SS7 (Te Akau North) and intended to do so in service A on Thursday evening – after SS1.
But in the short 15-minute service, the parameters were changed for SS4 only, and not SS7.
Marcos and Moncet apologized to event stewards for the human error, but given this was a repeat offence the penalty was doubled from five to 10s.
It’s particularly costly for Tänak as it demotes him from second to third behind Sébastien Ogier, now 14.6s shy of Rovanperä’s rally lead. Without any of these penalties, Tänak himself would be leading by 0.4s.
Oliver Solberg has also lost position, slipping to sixth behind Takamoto Katsuta, but Neuville remains in fourth.