Newly crowned British Rally Champion, Keith Cronin has added the 2009 Pirelli BRC Star Driver prize drive to his portfolio in what has been an astounding year for the 23-year-old Irishman.

The popular West Cork youngster and his co-driver Greg Shinnors impressed the panel of judges sufficiently that their decision to award the fully funded drive in the 2010 MSA British Rally Championship to the BRC title winner was unanimous after the two-day assessment.

Seven drivers attended the shootout, which was held for the first time at the Sweet Lamb Rally Complex in mid Wales - one driver nominated from each of the six rounds of the 2009 BRC, plus the Swift Sport Cup Junior Champion.

The two day event provided a mix of tests including an assessment on their pacenote making skills, TV interviews, knowledge of the FIA regulations but the predominant spotlight focused on their driving performance using both a two wheel (Suzuki Swift) and four wheel drive rally car (Subaru Impreza).

"The two mile stage was a fabulous mix of corners and terrain, add to that the spice of recent torrential rain, the changeable Welsh surfaces, made for a very fitting and demanding test," BRC manager and non-voting chairman of the judging panel Mark Taylor said. "Giving consideration that if any of the finalists had slid off the road, or had crashed the car they would be have been instantly excluded from the competition, the pressure was on each of them was immense. With that in mind, all of the competitors presented themselves extremely well. They were an excellent bunch of finalists, the standard of drivers was the best yet in the three years we have run this competition and all of them should be extremely proud of their performances. I wouldn't be surprised to see many of this year's finalists back here again in 2010."

Cronin's success means he will now run with leading team TEG Sport in 2010 at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza N15 after the team secured the contract to run the Pirelli Star Driver winner for a second year.

Outgoing Star Driver Adam Gould is working towards a deal which would see him remain with TEG Sport again next season.