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  Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 14:20 GMT
Australian rally in doubt
Marcus Gronholm at last year's Rally of Australia
Gronholm has won the event for the last three years
The Rally of Australia is in danger of being dropped from this year's World Rally Championship because of a dispute between the organisers and owners of the event.

The Western Australia tourism board, which owns the event, has clashed with the newly installed managers of the rally, according to Autosport magazine.

Motorsport's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), sent an envoy to Australia in January to ensure the required infrastructure was in place for September's event.

Although he was apparently satisfied the matter had been resolved, the situation is said to have worsened again in recent weeks.

FIA's World Motorsport Council is due to meet in April when the 5-7 September event in Perth might be discarded.

"Nothing's definite, but it doesn't look good for Australia," an FIA source told Autosport.

That would reduce the WRC to 13 rallies, and that could yet drop to 12 if hostilities break out in Iraq and the next round, the Rally of Turkey, is cancelled.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Greg Strange
"Rally Australia officials are bitterly angry"
FIA chief Max Mosley
"We did send a senior official to try to clarify the situation"
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