The FIA WRC Academy, rallying's premier training programme for young drivers, has completed a three-day Induction Programme for its competitors at M-Sport in Cumbria.
Thirty-four drivers and co-drivers from 14 countries participated in the event, ahead of round one, Vodafone Rally de Portugal which takes place from 24-28 March 2011.
The sessions offered the drivers a chance to familiarise themselves with the Ford Fiesta R2 rally car and Pirelli tyres with which they'll contest six rounds of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, as well as offering classroom tutorials on topics including professionalism, goal setting, media, nutrition and fitness.
“The WRC Academy is a world class competition, mixed with education and training for drivers up to 24 years of age,” academy principal Marc de Jong said. “In rallying, experience is very important and these guys are at a really early stage of their career. Many are graduating from national championships and these are their first steps at WRC level. We want to help them prepare for the WRC Academy season and give them a good foundation to build their talent. That's why this Induction Programme isn't just about driving, but included many other aspects as well.”
Robert Reid, 2001 World Rally Champion co-driver and director of ESP, delivered a talk on the importance of planning and goal setting.
“Some of the WRC Academy drivers might have felt a bit like they were back at school for the day,” he said, “but the smartest drivers who take all the advice on board and work with it will soon see the benefits.”