Wales Rally GB's position on the World Rally Championship calendar is in jeopardy once again, after series officials called for an explanation into the speed traps that caused outrage in 2002 and the strong police presence that overshadowed last season's finale.

According to reports in Britain's Times newspaper, rally officials have been given eight weeks to provide a suitable explanation for the incidents - or face losing its place on the calendar. The British event has already been rescheduled for a late summer date, having traditionally rounded out the calendar.

The report claims that FIA president Max Mosley has offered to meet the chief constable of the South Wales Police to discuss the matter in person.

"The international reaction we have had is that we just don't need to go to Wales if that is the attitude of the local authorities," Mosley said, "We are against speeding, and in favour of safety, but we are not in favour of the tactics used by the South Wales police. There are plenty of places queuing up to stage a World Rally, and we do not need to go to Wales. If the local police fear that the Rally GB is unsafe as it stands, then perhaps it would be better if it was not held there at all."

Mosley's final comment echoes that made shortly after the 2003 event, when details of the number of cars caught speeding by mobile traps in 2002 was made public and the first high-profile drivers among the 'offenders' appeared in court.

The police reaction followed the 2001 event, when Carlos Sainz was unfortunate to plough into a group of spectators standing in a dangerous spot on one of the South Wales stages. In contrast, overseas events - most notably those in Greece, Spain and Italy - frequently have stages cancelled because of large, and often unruly, crowds. Ironically, Mosley's comments were made public on the opening day of the 2004 season - when the Monte Carlo Rallye saw its first stage cancelled because of crowd numbers.

 

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