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Team: Solberg penalty a close call

Petter Solberg, Solberg Citroen, Japan 2010Petter Solberg World Rally Team manager Ken Rees has revealed to AUTOSPORT that Petter Solberg lost the Rally Japan lead after he started SS13 just one tenth of a second too soon.

Rees contacted the event organisers soon after finding out about the jump-start to query the decision as Solberg felt he had done nothing wrong. The onboard television camera footage showed he crossed the line as 12:21.59.9 instead of 12:22.00.0.

"It's incredible," said Rees. "Petter has never jumped the start of a stage before, which is why we talked to the organisers. Let's face it, if you were going to purposefully jump the start, you'd do it for more than a tenth of a second. A tenth of a second isn't the blink of an eye.

"It would be nice if there was some leniency, but when the event is timed to the tenth of a second, there's not really anywhere to go. We just have to deal with it and make sure it doesn't define our rally."

Solberg said: "I didn't do anything different. I pulled up at the start, the guy told me where to stop on the line and we did everything as normal."

The penalty dropped Solberg from first to third.

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