Jean Todt, the Frenchman who has led championship-winning teams in WRC, Paris-Dakar, Le Mans, and Formula 1, has been elected to head the FIA. He succeeds the long-serving and highly controversial Max Mosley, who agreed to step down earlier this year as part of the agreement to prevent a rival manufacturer-led championship series. Todt won the vote by 149-35, defeating Ari Vatanen -- the same Vatanen who won those four consecutive Paris-Dakar races for Todt's Peugeot team.

Todt assumes his position with the platform of "constructive change," at the same time as he praised "the extraordinary achievements of Max Mosley's 16 years as President of the FIA in both sport and mobility." He will not only have the backing of the FIA representatives, but the list of candidates that he put forth and that were all, to a man, elected as well.

The question is whether Vatanen's defeat is also a blow to a higher grade of motorsports management. Vatanen felt the FIA needed a thorough overhaul -- perhaps one of the reasons he didn't muster many votes, since many of the people he needed to win were the same ones who might be purged if he did. Mosley's reign could be considered highly successful overall; we will find out if Todt can continue the growth without the gaffes, clashes, and egoistic explosions.

[Source: The Associated Press]