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Vatanen to stand for FIA president

Former world rally champion Ari Vatanen announced yesterday that he would 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.

"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."

Vatanen, 57, was rally 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.

Mosley 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, he has since suggested that he could reconsider after accusing Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo of calling him a dictator.

He has also warned that the FIA's independence is under attack with the carmakers seeking to diminish the body's role, and called for 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.


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