Phil Mills will join the MSA British Rally Elite scheme this year it has been confirmed, as a performance and coaching adviser.

With Robert Reid having moved up to become MSA performance director in 2008, a new elite skills coach was required for the rally scheme in 2009. Mills will thus combine his duties as Petter Solberg's co-driver with helping to develop Britain's best young rallying talent as a performance adviser to the programme.

"I was delighted to be asked to help coach some of the UK's most promising rally drivers and co-drivers," said Mills. "With so many years of experience at the top level of rallying I feel I can offer them a real insight into what it takes to get there and stay there.

"We want to make sure there is as much British talent competing in the WRC as possible, and I think the MSA British Rally Elite scheme is the way to do that."

Mills has been involved with the scheme since its inception, attending as many training events as his hectic WRC schedule allowed. However, before he can begin to pass on his considerable experience in his official role a new intake of scheme members will be selected at the end of January.

Applications for places opened on December 10 2008, and will close on Friday January 23 2009.

The MSA has unveiled a new panel to select the brightest young rally prospects to receive assistance from the MSA's official development programme. Current leading competitors Guy Wilks and David Higgins will be joined by former BRC champion Mike Broad, Motorsport News Deputy Editor James Attwood and former WRC champion and MSA Performance Director Robert Reid on the panel.

The selected candidates will then be provided with advanced training in areas such as sport psychology, fitness, nutrition, strength and conditioning, media skills, and event preparation. All the elements of the scheme are tailored to develop the extra skills required for talented competitors to be able to make it to the very top level of the sport - the World Rally Championship.

To be accepted onto the scheme drivers must be aged between 17 and 25 on January 1 2009, while co-drivers must be aged between 16 and 25 on January 1 2009. Applicants must hold a valid British passport and an MSA competition licence, and have demonstrated notable success within their respective rally championship or series during 2008.

The application process will be via an online application form on the scheme's website: www.msabritishrallyelite.co.uk

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