Motorsport News, DMACK, M-Sport create new British Rally award

Autosport's sister publication Motorsport News has joined tyre firm DMACK and World Rally Championship manufacturer M-Sport to create the DMACK M-Sport Motorsport News Rally Driver Award

Motorsport News, DMACK, M-Sport create new British Rally award

The award will be centred around the returning British Rally Championship - which took a hiatus in 2015 - with the winning driver getting a subsidised '17 season in the series with the DMACK British Rally Team.

Team manager Glenn Patterson - who competed in the BRC with the likes of Kris Meeke in the early 2000s - is hoping the award can spur on drivers and give them an opportunity to impress in top-level machinery.

"This award is set to further inspire career-focused drivers and will ensure competitors in the British championship have some great opportunities to progress their careers," said Patterson.

"We want to reward drivers who have the ambition, passion and drive to reach the highest ranks of the sport."

After each round of the seven BRC rallies a panel will meet to choose a driver who performed outstandingly.

A number of other drivers who have impressed in other British championships will be added to the seven BRC competitors to create a group of finalists.

They will then go into a shootout for the award in a Ford Fiesta R2 car provided by M-Sport. As well as their driving, the contenders will be judged on physical and media skills.

The panel consists of DMACK managing director Dick Cormack and team manager Patterson, M-Sport chief Malcolm Wilson, 2001 WRC winning co-driver Robert Reid, two-time BRC champion Ari Vatanen and Motorsport News national rallying editor Jack Benyon.

M-Sport boss Wilson hailed the interest being shown in the returning series, and hopes the award could help draw talent from overseas to Britain.

"Everybody getting involved with this shows the real passion, enthusiasm and drive to get the BRC back where it belongs," said Wilson.

"I have been there and seen what this championship can do for drivers down the years. It's so important and to be part of another step on the ladder is great.

"Hopefully [the award] will bring more foreign competition in. We've had some really strong entries with junior teams and crews from all over the place coming in to make their name in the British Rally Championship. It'd be great to see that overseas interest coming again."

Motorsport News editor Kevin Turner believes the award fills a gap for rising rally stars.

"One of our big frustrations is seeing talented drivers not get the opportunities they deserve," explained Turner.

"Hopefully this will go some way to helping those drivers, and it is to DMACK and M-Sport's great credit that they are throwing their weight behind the initiative.

"We look forward to charting the progress of the finalists in the pages of MN."

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