Earlier this year Pirelli launched its competition to find the best young rally drivers in the world. The aim is to find the five best drivers from both the 2008 and 2009 FIA Regional Championships. The top drivers from each year will then compete in six World Championship rallies in 2010. These rallies will take place with all the drivers competing in identical Group N or Super 2000 cars, which will be supplied by an FIA contracted specialist preparation company. The aim of the competition is to promote the sport and help younger drivers to compete at the highest level. In order to compete, the drivers must be under 27 years of age on January 1st in the year of the Regional Championship.
Morrie Chandler, FIA World Rally Championship Commission president, said: “We also recognise it is not all about driving and the project includes a five day course in vocational development. We want our competitors to understand the importance of physical fitness, safety education (on and off-road) as well personal presentation, media and public relations skills. All these elements will be an integral part of the Star Drivers’ future development.”
The Regional Championships are already under way. In Africa three of the five qualifying rounds have been completed, and Kenyans Alfir Khan and Peter Horsey are currently leading the field. The Asia Pacific region will be contested in a Star Driver Final in Malaysia, on 11th-12th of October. In Europe the 18 countries mounting FIA World Rally Championship or FIA European Rally Championship events have been invited to nominate a driver to compete in a one-off race in Freistadt, Austria, on 24th-26th of October. The last qualifying driver will come from the Middle East Group, following its final race in December.