MSA British Rally Elite scheme member Adam Gould has landed the prize of a fully-funded drive in next year's British Rally Championship after triumphing against seven of Britain's brightest rally talents, including fellow Elite members Jason Pritchard and James Wozencroft, to take the prestigious Pirelli Star Driver Award.
The 21-year old Bristol native was declared the victor by an expert panel of judges after two days of intense competition in Cumbria, which saw the hopefuls tested, not only for their ability in a rally car, but also their fitness, knowledge of the sport, and presentation skills at M-Sport's Dovenby Hall headquarters.
Day one gave the participants a chance to recce the stage that they were to tackle the following day, before they then had to complete a series of TV interviews, a quiz based on FIA regulations and the all-important fitness test. The second day saw the eight finalists allowed the chance to drive the stage once more at low speed to make any final adjustments to their pace notes, before the timed high-speed runs commenced.
In the end, however, it was Gould who was judged to have been the outstanding performer, topping the timesheets and excelling in the physical fitness assessment.
“It's a really amazing feeling to have won, and this is the biggest opportunity in my career so far," the winner commented, "I want to thank the organisers and Pirelli for giving me this chance, and I intend to repay their faith by making the most of it next year.
"It was a really tough competition, the standard of all the competitors was so high, but I really enjoyed it too. Being part of the MSA British Rally Elite scheme has been important in helping me to prepare for this kind of high-pressure competition, and everything I've learnt throughout the year has contributed to my success.”
As a result of his win, Gould will now contest the full Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship calendar in 2009, underlining the success of the MSA Rally Elite scheme.
“British motorsport is definitely on the up and the MSA's Elite schemes are clearly playing their part in that," MSA performance director Robert Reid noted, "In the past week, members of the MSA Race Elite and MSA Rally Elite have claimed the two biggest awards in British motorsport, and it was also encouraging that three of the eight [Pirelli Award] finalists were on the Rally Elite scheme, which is developing their talents and ensuring that they are making the most of every opportunity.
“This award is fantastic news for Adam and deserved recognition for the hard work and dedication he puts in. I am sure he will take his chance next year and continue his development.”