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DATE News (chronologically)
10/02/09
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Vatanen doubts he will lose FIA election  (GMM)  Ari Vatanen on Friday took issue with incumbent Max Mosley's claim that he will "lose badly" the FIA presidential election later this month.

Mosley, who has been FIA president since 1993 but wants former Ferrari boss Jean Todt to now succeed him, had hit out at Finn Vatanen's stance about the corruptness of the current regime in a leaked letter.

But Vatanen, the 1981 world rally champion and European parliamentarian, believes the existing regime is actually on the wrong end of a changing tide.

"It happens in smaller elections too and this is a Barack Obama thing happening: we believe we have more than half of the votes already and there is a tendency the tide has turned," Vatanen, 57, told the Guardian newspaper.

The latest events have their origin at the Amman Extraordinary Motoring Conference in Jordan, where the opposition to Mosley and Todt, and the support for Vatanen, was stark.

Outraged at the insulting tone of Mosley's letter to a member of the Jordan royal family, it is said that most of the Arabic motoring officialdom now stridently back Vatanen.

A resolution at the conference, reportedly snubbed by Mosley due to Vatanen's attendance, calls for an independent body to oversee the FIA election on October 23.

"In the interests of democracy, transparency and integrity, we must be sure that this election is held in a fair and open environment through a secret ballot and under close third party supervision," Jordan's Prince Faisal said in a statement.

In another statement issued late on Friday, the FIA said both Vatanen and Todt can each nominate election scrutineers, with the entire process "overseen, as usual, by a huissier de justice (a French state-appointed public witness)".

The Ugandan motor racing official Jack Wavamunno, meanwhile, claims he was "pressurized" through the means of "threats" by Todt supporters to drop his support for Vatanen.

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