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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 18:19 GMT
Rally GB could lose world status
Drivers use public roads to get between stages in Wales
Police caught 17 World Rally drivers speeding last year
Motorsport's ruling body has threatened to downgrade the Rally of Great Britain after a string of top drivers were fined for speeding on public roads.

The FIA is considering giving Rally GB "observer status", meaning it would not carry world championship points.

Its timed special stages in Wales are held on Forestry Commission land, but public roads are used to get to them.

And four former world champions were among 17 drivers punished this month for speeding during the 2002 event.

Rally GB is due to move from its season-ending November slot to September next year.

But an FIA spokesman said: "The status of the rally has been referred to the [FIA's] world motorsport council meeting in Monaco on 12 December."

Any decision to downgrade Britain's status would mean top drivers might be reluctant to compete as the rally would do nothing to improve their championship aspirations.

"The actions of police and the magistrates seem to indicate that this is an exceptionally dangerous location for a rally," an FIA spokesman said last week.

"The FIA has therefore asked its safety delegate for a report on the suitability of the local public roads for a world championship event."




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