Citroen Racing director Olivier Quesnel has revealed that the team is still in shock at the harshness of the penalties handed to the team after Rally Australia.

The three Citroen C4 drivers that finished the rally were handed a one minute penalty after the scrutineers discovered the cars were fitted with non-homologated anti-roll bar links.

At the time Quesnel said he accepted the decision and apologised to team leader Sebastien Loeb, but since then there has been a lot of rumours that the team felt the penalties were harsh.

Talking to Eurosport Quesnel said “The public is right. As for us, we are still in shock. An administrative error has been punished by a sporting penalty and I do not understand why.”

He went on to explain that a poorly reproduced photo of the anti-roll bar link in the homologation manual was to blame. “It had had no effect on performance. We are surprised at the harshness of the penalty,”

“But that is motorsport. The best thing to do now is to show that we are the strongest by achieving first and second in the next race in Spain. Its best for us to give our answer on the road,” he added.

Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo have finished first and second at Rally de Espana for the last three years, but despite it looking good for the team, Quesnel isn’t underestimating the performance of Mikko Hirvonen.

Mikko has made tremendous progress and is much more comfortable in Spain and Corsica,” he said. “Spain is more like a driving circuit. I know he went to take lessons with [McLaren F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen] on a track to improve. But I remain convinced that the C4 is the best car on asphalt, and Sebastien and Dani are the two best drivers in the world on this surface. I am confident.”