Märtin excluded - more details

Märtin excluded - more detailsFrom Chris Biewer [ 07/09/2003 ].
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We reported earlier that Markko Märtin has been excluded from 4th position in Rally Australia before the start of the final leg. The exclusion happened after a rock of about 5-6kg weight had been found inside the car. Speculation was that this was a measure to weigh the car down to be above the weight limit. However on the weigh bridge the car weight 1253kg, which is 23kg above the weight limit. This makes it quite unlikely that the rock's purpose was to shift the car's weight above the limit. It in fact appears to be a rather innocent incident. The incident happened during leg2. The stewarts had a meeting at night and decided to exclude car number 4 from the event. The rock was regarded as an illegal modification to the car.

So, if the car was 23kg above weight limit, why would you place a rock of 5-6kg inside? Apparently this has been done by Markko Märtin and Micheal Park. The locking mechanism on the strap securing the spare wheel in the boot had failed. To have a spare wheel flying around inside the car on a stage is the last thing you want to deal with. So the rock has been used to wedge the wheel down into its well.

Now in this context the exclusion sounds like a curiosity. Other teams are known to have their cars below the weight limit and shift them above the limit with balast distributed in the car. However this balast is secured inside the cars. This rock was not bolted to the car, which led the stewarts to decide it was an illegal modification. As well in such case, we could surely think of other items, driver's belongings, that are unsecured inside the car. It isn't easy to draw the line, what should be allowed to be taken on board or not.