Rally struck by controversy

Only in its second day of competition, the much-anticipated Acropolis Rally sank into controversy yesterday as four drivers survived being excluded from the competition, much to the disappointment of competitors. Reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb, who is vying for a fifth straight win on the World Rally championship circuit, took an overnight lead in the race yesterday but the drama lay elsewhere. Subaru’s Petter Solberg, Chris Atkinson and Stephane Sarrazin and Mitsubishi’s Gigi Galli were hit with heavy fines after their cars were found to be under the minimum 1,230kg weight limit, during the race’s opening event at the sold-out Olympic Stadium in Athens on Thursday. Bosses from other teams complained that they should have been thrown out of the race and the incident shadowed the organizers’ success of staging a world rally inside a stadium for the first time. Sarrazin and Galli were each ordered to pay 10,000 euros, Atkinson 20,000 euros and Solberg 30,000 euros.

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