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FIA President Todt to stand for re-election

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DANIELLA MATAR | September 8, 2013 09:37 AM EST | AP

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MONZA, Italy — International Automobile Federation President Jean Todt confirmed Sunday that he will stand for re-election later this year.

"There is no speculation, I will go for it," Todt said ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Todt, who has been the FIA president since 2009, faces strong competition from David Ward, a former adviser to ex-president Max Mosley.

Asked about his rival, Todt said "in life you must respect freedom of everyone. So I really do respect him."

Ward, who recently resigned from his longstanding position as director general of the FIA foundation, published a manifesto Friday, calling for a range of reforms at motorsports' governing body and saying that Todt has "fallen short" on what he proposed four years ago.

"All our community knows that I have a lot of support, and we have started something," Todt said. "It is like climbing a mountain. We try to climb up and up, but we are at 3000m (meters). So there is still some way to go."

Todt has been given the backing of several F1 team bosses, who praised the FIA chief at a news conference in Monza on Friday.

"I must say I was very pleased to see some comments by the team principals," Todt said. "I have been reading in the press that the F1 community hated me, so if sometimes I feel a bit frustrated it is to read things which are not corresponding to the reality.

"Sometimes I do mistakes, but I am a human being, and hopefully I do sometimes good things. It is not in my nature to have a very high profile, to be a dictator. For me with harmony and consensus you get much better. It is my way of running, of leading."

The election takes place at the beginning of December, in Paris.