Ross Forde has won one of the most prestigious prizes in Irish motorsport - the Billy Coleman Award.

The 25-year-old beat off stiff competition from six other finalists to be revealed as the winner at the Dunlop Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards in Dublin and was also crowned the Young Rally Driver of the Year.

He made it through to the interview stage of the Billy Coleman Award after winning his class in the National Junior Rally Championship.

Forde has been handed a fully funded drive in a Ford Fiesta in a British-based championship next year for his success; prize worth in excess of EUR50,000.

"I'm absolutely delighted to have won the Billy Coleman Award," he said. "It's been an ambition of mine and it's great to have achieved it. I was surprised when it was announced at the awards but it was a pleasant surprise.

"I would not have made it this far without the help of my kind sponsors, Global Group Ireland, Tom Gormally, BCC Group, Frank Cunningham, Galway Mini Centre, G&R Windows, family members and friends

"I'm now looking forward to taking the opportunity I have of the fully-funded drive next season and doing the best I can. It's a great prize to have been given and I aim to make the most of it."

Forde will next be in action in his home event, the Galway International Rally, in January followed by the opening round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Ireland on January 29 - February 1.

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