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WRC NEWS 

World Rally Championship events push FIA for timing system answer

Mikko Hirvonen, Citroen, Italy 2012World Rally Championship event organisers have called on the FIA to retain Stage One Technology as provider of the series' vital timing and tracking systems.

There was anger at the rally organisers' meeting in Paris earlier this week when FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen was unable to provide clarity on who would be running the safety tracking and timing systems from the 2013 Monte Carlo Rally onwards.

The FIA is evaluating the current Stage One Technology system and one proposed by Spanish firm SIT. A decision is expected from the FIA next week - which some organisers are saying is already too late.

Rally Mexico director Patrick Suberville's comments were typical of those felt by next season's events: "I was very disappointed not to have an answer about that this week. Our whole event depends on these systems. The rally is about results and getting all of that information out as soon as possible. We all know Stage One is up to that level right there.

"We know we can rely on [Stage One Technology]. They know the events extremely well and even down to the marshals on the stages - they all know those guys, they know how it works and this makes staying with Stage One Technology the only option right now.

"It would be such a relief to know Stage One is back on the timing for next year."

A source from a rally early on the 2013 WRC calendar said: "It is a big worry that we are so close to the start of the season. Changing system is not a good solution, it makes life easier to stay with Stage One Technology, but we have to have a decision. Don't they realise just how close we are to 2013?"

AUTOSPORT's David Evans analyses the state of the WRC

Stage One Technology managing director Simon de Banke is confident his firm is the WRC's best option.

Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford, France 2012"Next week's Catalunya Rally will be about our 180th WRC event. A decision to go with us takes the problem and risk away," he said. "Going with another party at this late stage adds significant risk to the safety and integrity of the WRC.

"I'm incredibly touched by the overwhelming support we've received from the organisers and teams backing us to continue in the future. That said, we fully appreciate the magnitude of this decision and understand its not one that can be rushed."

A spokesman from SIT said it awaited the FIA's decision, stating: "We have confidence in our systems, but we cannot comment further at this time."

Mahonen confirmed a decision would be coming from the FIA soon, but would not be drawn on a precise timescale.

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