MSA Launch Scheme to Help Talent

An innovative scheme has been unveiled to help British drivers reach the World Rally Championship

MSA Launch Scheme to Help Talent

The Motor Sports Association, the governing body of motor sport in the UK, is funding a two-year course to put British drivers and co-drivers in line drives at the sport's sharp end.

Up to ten applicants will be chosen for the scheme's first programme led by former World Rally Champion co-driver Robert Reid. It will be operated in partnership with the Sports Science Department at Edinburgh University. The scheme will have a new intake annually.

Candidates need an MSA competition licence, and must be under 26 on Jan 1 2005 (co-drivers under 30 on Jan 1 2005). They should have demonstrated success in the British Rally Championship, or MSA national, regional or one make rally Championships.

Applications will be reviewed by a selection panel, comprising Reid, works Subaru co-driver Phil Mills, former works rally driver Robbie Head, Subaru WRC boss David Lapworth and former British Rally Champion Mike Broad.

Britain has not had a fulltime driver in the WRC since Colin McRae and Richard Burns in 2003, and only retains its presence thanks to Subraru co-driver Phil Mills and Peugeot co-driver Michael Park.

Chief executive of the MSA Colin Hilton said: "The MSA is not government-funded, unlike some countries, so it is not possible to buy British driver competitive seats in the WRC. But what we can do is select promising individuals, provide them with meaningful training and support their careers. It is essential that Britain is represented at the highest level in all disciplines of motorsport."

The syllabus includes driver and co-driver skills development, performance analysis by in-car camera and other technology, sports psychology and media skills.

MSA British Rally Elite performance director Robert Reid said: "To be a top class sportsman these days requires more than simply talent.

"The leading athletes in any sport have the all-round skills that enable them to overcome equally talented opponents. The scheme will train the participants in mental ability, psychology, physical preparation and personal development."

Interested applicants can apply online at www.msabritishrallyelite.co.uk Closing date for applications is on June 10, 2005.

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