Eighteen of the sport’s brightest prospects were in action on the demanding gravel stages of the Algarve in identical M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2s using Pirelli control tyres.
Reid is part of a team of experts helping to train the young stars and was in Portugal last week to oversee their progress on the first of six rallies they will tackle in 2011.
“We saw a lot of people come to this event as the first world championship event they’ve done and it’s been tough for them,” said Reid. “But this programme is about introducing them to the World Rally Championship, it’s about learning and I think they’ve all learned a lot.”
Reid, who partnered Richard Burns to the world crown in 2001, continued: “Part of the learning process is experiencing it. You can tell somebody something two or three times but they often need to experience it to reinforce their learning. We’re trying to shortcut four years of learning by giving them an insight and information and you can’t impart that in one day.”
Asked what advice he would give the drivers that didn’t enjoy the same fortune as inaugural winner Egon Kaur, Reid had plenty of advice to offer.
“I’m sure all of them can find a positive somewhere because it’s all about learning,” said Reid. “If you don’t learn from incidents you just go out and do the same thing again. They’ve really got to analyse everything they’ve done and gather a valuable library of information about competing at WRC level.
“It’s really important they learn everything they can from the experience they’ve had and put it into practice: they always say the definition of insanity is to do same thing twice and expect a different result. It’s about taking all the information on board and heeding the great advice from the people involved in the Academy like Phil Short and the guys from M-Sport.”