SAMF Saudi Arabia set to support Ari Vatanen in FIA election
Saudi Arabian Motor Federation
For immediate release
Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
SAUDI ARABIAN MOTOR FEDERATION SET TO SUPPORT
ARI VATANEN AND HRH PRINCE FEISAL IN FIA ELECTION
· SAMF meets in Riyadh to discuss forthcoming FIA vote
· Saudi officials look ahead to exciting motor sport future
RIYADH (Saudi Arabia): The Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) has confirmed its full backing for His Royal Highness Prince Feisal Al-Hussein and FIA presidential candidate Ari Vatanen in the crucial FIA Presidential election that will take place in Paris on Friday, October 23rd.
Officials at the SAMF met in Riyadh on Monday evening to discuss elements of the recent Amman Extraordinary Motoring Conference in detail and unanimously decided to support Vatanen’s bid for the presidency and to support his Vice-President Sport (Middle East) elect, HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein, Chairman of Jordan Motorsport.
Al-Sudairy was present at the Amman meeting, which was called by HRH Prince Feisal in a bid to lobby support for Vatanen in the Middle East region. The Finn will go head-to-head with Frenchman Jean Todt to replace Max Mosley as the head of the FIA, world motor sport’s governing body. Last month’s Amman conference was attended by representatives from 25 countries.
“We looked long and hard at all the proposals and studied what was on offer from both sides,” said Mishaal Al-Sudairy, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation. “We reached the decision that the policies to be followed by Ari Vatanen and HRH Prince Feisal fitted better with the future plans of the ambitious Saudi Arabian Motor Federation and we will support Ari Vatanen in the election. We are looking forward to working behind the new president in a unified FIA.
“After meeting with Ari Vatanen, we realised that the rumour that he was going to give more voting power to larger clubs was totally unfounded. Only the General Assembly can change the detail of the voting system. Ari has built up a strong support team and we feel that the members of that group better suit the requirements of the sport’s governing body and the best interests of motor sport across the globe.”
Al-Sudairy presides over the organising committee for the Ha’il Saudi Baja (a round of the FIA Cross-Country Baja Cup) and a new round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship in the Eastern Province. He is also an integral force behind bringing circuit racing and other motor sporting disciplines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – one of the newest hubs for world motor sport.
Al-Sudairy has also called upon the FIA to carry out a fair and secret ballot on election day. “It is imperative that individuals are not pressured into voting for a particular side and the election is carried out in a fair and democratic way,” added Al-Sudairy. “I am also satisfied with Ari’s and HRH Prince Feisal’s vision for motor sport and mobility in the Middle East region.”
Vatanen is a former FIA World Rally Champion. He won 10 WRC rallies and is a four-time winner of the gruelling Dakar Rally. After a memorable career in world motor sport spanning three decades, the Finn moved into politics and is a former member of the European Parliament.
His rival candidate is Frenchman Jean Todt, the former head of the Ferrari F1 team and Vatanen’s team manager at Peugeot Talbot Sport in the 1980s.
For further information:
Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, PO Box 87881, Riyadh 11652, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tel: + 9661 477 1035, Fax: + 9661 477 1050, www.samf.gov.sa