The next generation of British rally stars have been selected to join the MSA British Rally Elite scheme. With huge successes such as Phillip Morrow, Scott Martin and Robbie Durant now having 'graduated' to pursue their careers in the highest ...
The next generation of British rally stars have been selected to join the MSA British Rally Elite scheme.
With huge successes such as Phillip Morrow, Scott Martin and Robbie Durant now having 'graduated' to pursue their careers in the highest echelons of the sport, a new intake has been inducted to follow in their footsteps.
Applications for the 2008 intake opened in mid-December 2007 and closed a month later in January 2008. There was a fantastic response -- with over 70 talented young rally stars making their bid for inclusion. However, only a select few would make the final cut after assessment by a panel of experts and motorsport luminaries such as Mike Broad, Nicky Grist, Phil Mills and Robbie Head.
After some serious deliberation the selection panel settled on their final choices for the six members of the MSA British Rally Elite and ten members of the British Rally Academy. Elite members for 2008 are drivers James Wozencroft, Adam Gould, Jason Pritchard, Jonathan Greer and Alastair Fisher, along with co-driver Chris Ridge. James Wozencroft already featured in the Elite scheme in 2007, however he has been joined by Gould, Pritchard and Ridge, promoted from the Academy level, and newcomers Greer and Fisher.
Co-drivers Andrew Roughead and Seb Marshall have been re-selected for another year at Academy level. For 2008 they will be joined by newcomers Nick Rowland, Jonny Hart, Gareth Roberts, Kris Hall, Russ Thompson, Martin McCormack, Craig Drew and Stevie Brown.
All of those on the scheme in 2008 can look forward to receiving the highest quality coaching in all aspects of rallying from some of the top names in the sport. The first group training session will take place in March at Edinburgh University, covering sports science, fitness, nutrition, sponsorship and media training.
Since its inception the scheme has seen a number of its members pass through the ranks and move on to regular drives at World Rally Championship level, including Matthew Wilson, Stuart Jones, Daniel Barritt and now Scott Martin.
The class of 2007 also demonstrated their potential, claiming two of the three top prizes for youngsters in British rallying. Phillip Morrow, newly crowned Northern Ireland Motorsport Personality of the Year, dominated the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge, Adam Gould triumphed in the Fiesta Sporting Trophy shootout, while Elite members took three of the six available places in the final of the Pirelli Star Driver shootout.
MSA Chief Executive Colin Hilton said:
"We are delighted with the way the MSA British Rally Elite has developed in its first three years. It's standing within the sport gets stronger every year and this is shown by the growing level of applications, as drivers and co-drivers recognise the huge benefit that the scheme can bring to their careers.
"The MSA is committed to developing the opportunities for young drivers to maximise their potential, both in rallying and racing, to ensure that Britain continues to be well represented at international level. We are investing more money in the sport than ever before, not just at Elite level but also throughout the sport, including the grass roots. This is set to grow further in the next few months as some exciting plans come to fruition."
MSA British Rally Elite Performance Director Robert Reid said:
"The growing success of the Elite Scheme has certainly been reflected in the number and quality of applications for this year's intake. The selection panel have again done a great job in coming up with a very diverse and exciting group of participants for both levels. Once again thanks to all who applied and those who were unsuccessful this time around can be assured that everyone involved with the scheme will still be watching their progress throughout 2008."
New MSA British Rally Elite member Jonathan Greer said:
"Last year was very successful for me and to be chosen as part of the Elite scheme has really topped it off. It is fantastic to be selected and I know the scheme will help me in lots of different areas to build upon my driving ability. I will definitely be making the most of this opportunity and am really looking forward to meeting the rest of the group and getting started with the training."