@ned-flanders – It’s all well and good to say “they should get a time penalty”, but I think that’s just asking for trouble. As soon as the FIA says that, the teams will push the boundaries of what is acceptable (especially if it comes down to a championship fight), comfortable that the worst that can happen is that they receive a time penalty. Hirvonen won the rally by one minute and fifty-two seconds – what kind of time penalty would be meaningful without affecting the results? The threat of exculsion for technical infringements like this is the most effective way of dealing with things. The teams will not push their luck, because they know that if they get caught, then they will get in serious trouble. It’s happened before, too – in 1995, Toyota were caught using an illegal variable restrictor on the Celica ST205′s turbo. Rule changes at the time made the restrictor opening smaller, and Toyota were concerned that they would lose so much power that they would be unable to compete with the other teams. So they created a variable restrictor that could be adjusted without tampering with the seal on the parts; that way, they could pass pre-event scrutineering, then illegally open the restrictor for the rally, and re-set it and pass post-event scrutineering. They only won the one rally in 1995 (Juha Kankkunen in Corsica), but when the parts were discovered, it was obviously cheating, and they were banned from competition for a year.
Citroen’s actions with the throttle appear to have been a genuine mistake (a part from the wrong batch somehow made its way into Hirvonen’s car; they’re unsure how it happened), and they claim that the clutch was heavier than the homologated part that they were supposed to be running and so it offered no actual advantage. Nevertheless, the FIA have to exclude them, because the rules are clear on this.