Young rally drivers from around New Zealand can start getting their applications ready for the 2010 Rising Stars Scholarship programme run by Rally New Zealand.
The driver development programme - which includes the entry level Scholarship and two tiers for more experienced drivers, the Development Award and the International Award - ran for the first time in 2009.
"It's a pretty straightforward concept – we want to help young New Zealand rally drivers develop a whole range of skills that could see them secure an internationally-successful career as a professional rally driver," explained Chris Carr, chairman of Rally New Zealand.
Nelson's Ben Hunt, winner of the inaugural Scholarship, says he's been blown away by the chance to work with so many well-known and highly experienced rally competitors during his Scholarship season.
"Not many people can enjoy the constructive feedback of Kiwi rally stars like Neil Allport in their first full season of rallying, or a fully-prepared Ford Fiesta from acknowledged Fiesta expert Kayne Barrie. And those are just two things that the Rally New Zealand Rising Stars Scholarship has provided me," added the now 21-year-old.
"It's an absolutely fantastic experience, to have the support of so many people at Rally New Zealand. This Scholarship has opened more doors than you could possibly imagine when you first apply. I can only recommend others who are serious about building a career in rallying to try out for this Scholarship."
Applications for the 2010 Rising Stars Scholarship are now open with the deadline for completed application forms to be at the Rally New Zealand office set for November 2 2009.
To be eligible, applicants must be less than 26 years of age on 1 January 2010, a member of a MotorSport New Zealand-affiliated car club, and not previously have registered as an entrant in the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) in a Group N car.
"The Rally New Zealand Rising Stars Scholarship provides the winner with a support package worth over $50,000, including use of a vehicle to contest the two-wheel-drive production category, or N3 class, of the 2010 New Zealand Rally Championship, including Rally New Zealand which takes place 6 to 8 May 2010," Carr added.