Front row qualifiers Sebastien Loeb and Jose Maria Lopez have been been sent to the back of the grid for the World Touring Car Championship round at Paul Ricard, promoting their Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller to pole.
Loeb had claimed his maiden pole position in just his second weekend in touring cars, but his and Lopez’s C-Elysse’s were later found in scrutineering to not conform with rules regarding a fuel cut-off system.
Citroen breeched a safety regulation which requires cars to have automatic cut-off valves in case of a fuel leak. No problem with this system was found on the car of third-placed qualifier Muller, so he will start race one from pole position.
Loeb and Lopez will have to start both races from 17th and 18th respectively. With a win each in Marrakech last weekend, the pair had tied for the championship lead after Loeb’s pole, but the removal of bonus points received for pole puts Lopez back into a one point lead – an advantage gained from his own pole in Morocco.
The Honda of Gabriele Tarquini will join Muller on the front row ahead of Hugo Valente, Norbert Michelisz, Tom Chilton, Dusan Borkovic, Gianni Morbidelli and Tiago Monteiro. Rene Munnich and Mehdi Bennani will start race two from the front row having been promoted to ninth and tenth respectively.