Teemu Suninen has been disqualified from Rally Finland, handing victory in WRC2 to rival Emil Lindholm.
The two Finns had been closely matched throughout the entire weekend, with Hyundai driver Suninen edging Lindholm’s Škoda by just 7.7 seconds for what was also eighth place overall.
But Suninen’s Hyundai i20 N Rally2 failed post-event scrutineering when its front bumper was found to weigh 3931g, 579g under the homologated minimum weight.
Rally Finland stewards met Suninen, Hyundai team manager Pablo Marcos on Sunday evening and Hyundai Customer Racing manager Andrea Cisotti, while the FIA’s technical delegate Jérôme Touquet and deputy technical delegate Karmo Uusmaa were also in attendance.
Marcos and Cisotti accepted that the front bumper was below the homologated weight and explained it wasn’t an original part produced by Hyundai Motorsport but instead a replacement for the original bumper during testing.
They said the part was fitted to the car in error by Red Grey – which runs Hyundai’s WRC2 concern.
Front bumpers from two other i20 N Rally2s that competed in Rally Finland were also checked and were found to weigh 5090g and 5000g respectively. They were original Hyundai Motorsport parts.
While the stewards acknowledged that the breach of regulations was simply down to human error, it is the competitor’s responsibility to make sure that all parts comply with the regulations.
The FIA International Sporting Code states that offenses such as this are punishable, regardless of whether they were committed intentionally or through negligence, so Suninen was therefore disqualified from his home round of the World Rally Championship.
Suninen does have the right to appeal the decision if he so chooses, in accordance with Article 15 of the International Sporting Code.