14 Feb 08
Former world champion co-drivers Robert Reid, Phil Mills and Nicky Grist are among a group of WRC experts helping to find Britain’s next generation of rally stars.
The three are part of the MSA British Rally Elite scheme, a national training initiative for young British rally competitors backed by the sport’s governing body in the UK, the Motor Sports Association.
Now in its third year, the scheme aims to help talented youngsters develop the skills necessary to take on drivers from the rest of the world. Past graduates include Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin of the Stobart Ford team, P-WRC driver Stuart Jones and British rally championship co-driver Daniel Barritt.
The Rally Elite scheme includes coaching in all aspects of rallying from some of the top names in the sport. This year more than 70 applicants were considered for the six places on the Elite scheme, and ten on the second tier Academy scheme. Assessments were made by an expert panel including Mike Broad, Nicky Grist, Phil Mills and Robbie Head. For 2008 the panel chose drivers James Wozencroft, Adam Gould, Jason Pritchard, Jonathan Greer and Alastair Fisher, and co-driver Chris Ridge.
Each of the six will attend the first group training session in March at Edinburgh University, which covers sports science, fitness, nutrition, sponsorship and media training.
“The selection panel have again done a great job in coming up with a very diverse and exciting group of participants,” said Robert Reid, the scheme’s performance director. “We had a lot of high quality applicants and I’d like to thank all those who applied. Those who were unsuccessful this time around can be assured that everyone involved with the scheme will still be watching their progress throughout 2008.”
MSA chief executive Colin Hilton said: "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 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.”