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Vatanen to stand for FIA president
Former world rally champion makes leadership bid against Mosley.
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2009 22:49 GMT

 Ari Vatanen has thrown his hat in the ring [AFP]
Former world rally champion Ari Vatanen has announced he will stand in October for president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

The decision will pit the Finn against Max Mosley, should the controversial 69-year-old Briton decide to seek a fifth term in office.

"Responding to requests from many FIA member clubs, I shall stand for presidential elections of the FIA in October this year", Vatanen said in a statement.

"I think the time has come for a change.

"My main focus is to reconcile views within the FIA and bring transparency to its stakeholders."

Leadership challenge

Mosley, who survived calls for his resignation after a sado-masochistic sex scandal last year, has been FIA president for the past 16 years.

He said last month that he would stand down as part of a peace deal with Formula One teams threatening a breakaway championship.

However, Mosley has since suggested that he could reconsider after accusing Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo of calling him a dictator and the teams of prematurely dancing on his grave.

He has also warned that the FIA's independence is under attack, with the carmakers seeking to diminish the body's role as defenders of motorists in general, and needed a strong president.

The FIA is Formula One's governing body as well as overseeing the world rally championship and other global competitions.

It groups 219 member clubs from 130 countries on five continents.

Facing hurdles

Vatanen, 57, was world rally champion in 1981 with future Benetton and BAR Formula One team boss David Richards, now chairman of Prodrive and Aston Martin, as his co-driver.

The Finn was a member of the European Parliament from 1999 until this year.

Vatanen faces numerous hurdles if he is to have a real chance of winning the election, however.

Under FIA rules, a candidate must name a 22-member 'cabinet' who will serve as his administration.

The cabinet must include a President of the Senate, a Deputy President for Sport, a Deputy President for Automobile Mobility and Tourism, five members of the Senate, seven vice-presidents of the FIA for Sport and seven vice-presidents of the FIA for Automobile Mobility and Tourism.

The naming of such a list is designed to ensure a candidate has broad support and is not just hoping to capitalise on an incumbent's unpopularity.

Source:
Agencies
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