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Ari Pieti Uolevi Vatanen (born April 27, 1952, Tuupovaara, Finland) better known as Ari Vatanen is a rally pilot and Finnish politician member of the European Parliament. As a driver he has participated in the World Rally Championship, the European Rally Championship, the European Touring Car Championship and the Dakar Rally where he has achieved various triumphs and victories.
In the world championship he managed ten victories and the drivers’ title in 1981, in the European he won eight victories. In the Dakar Rally he won four times: 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991, all in the car category, also accumulating 50 stage victories. He has also participated in the British Rally Championship where he won the title twice, 1976 and 1980 and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. His career as a driver included rally, raid, mountain and rallisprints events and he participated with several co-drivers, including David Richards, John Thomas, Peter Bryant, Terry Harryman, Bruno Berglund and Fabrizia Pons.
After his initial withdrawal from the competition in 1999, he began his career as a politician. He was elected to the European Parliament in the lists of the Finnish National Coalition Party of conservative tendency. He devoted himself to topics such as vehicle taxes, traffic control policies, aid for the development of countries and agricultural policies. In 2004 he was re-elected, this time by the French Conservative Union for a Popular Movement.
Her political career did not prevent her from returning to the races and in 2003 she participated again in rally competitions, especially in the Dakar Rally, where she won the stages in the 2005 edition. In 2009 she was presented to the presidency of the FIA , where he had as a rival the Frenchman Jean Todt: the one who was finally elected.
Owns a farm in the south of France.
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