Alastair Fisher has been chosen as the wildcard entrant to represent Ireland at the forthcoming Fiesta SportingTrophy International Shootout 2008, which will take place in December following the Wales Rally GB.

Fisher will be competing against a number of other hopefuls including FST UK and IE winner Elfyn Evans for a chance to win a twelve-month contract working hand-in-hand with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team during the 2009 WRC season.

This year's shootout winner Adam Gould has seen great developments in his career thanks to the unique opportunity he was given and he has enjoyed a successful campaign in the BRC earning nominations for both the UK and International Pirelli Star Driver competitions.

Gould and the 2007 shootout winner Victor Henriksson have both enjoyed 'money can't buy' experiences including acting as weather crew for the Ford WRC team, attending tests with the works drivers and learning how to build the Focus WRC cars. Fisher will be hoping he can gain similar success from the competition.

Fisher has performed impeccably throughout 2008 and has gained respect from many quarters due to some outstanding results including that of fourth overall in the National Rally during the Ulster Rally.

Fisher had a bad start to the year, but he fought back on round three of the series, the Killarney Rally of the Lakes with a victory over season long rival Elfyn Evans by a margin of just 3.8 seconds. A second win on the Donegal Rally at round four saw him back in the title race.

Evans bounced back on round five, the Ulster Rally to take victory, leaving Fisher needing maximum points in the season finale - The "Cork 20" Rally. Fisher duly did what was needed, winning the event by over 24 seconds from Evans, this left the points tied at 140 each, with the title eventually falling to Evans due to the results on round one.

It was the fight back from Fisher throughout the year and his ability to show that he can not only match the pace of the other title fighters but also drive to the result that is required that earned him his nomination for the shootout.

"It's great to be nominated for the shootout, I have had a mixed year both in Ireland and the UK and came so close to taking the title for the second time but it just wasn't to be, however being nominated as the wild card entry for the shootout is a great confidence boost," he revealed.

"My driving and fitness levels have improved immensely from last season and coupled with the additional input to my motorsport career from the MSA Rally Elite Scheme I feel confident I can perform well on the day."

The two-day shootout will consist of physical, psychological and media tests before a gravel based driving test in Greystoke Forest.

Barry Johnson, M-Sport's personal trainer will conduct the gruelling physical tests which will challenge the competitors to their maximum fitness ability

The psychological test will assess the competitors' mental strengths and weaknesses and determine whether they are capable of becoming a leading competitive drive.

The media interview will involve challenging questions from the sports leading journalists. It will allow the judges to see how the drivers react under pressure and if they are competent in front of rallying's toughest critics.

On the second day, the competitors will show their driving skills on a gravel stage at M-Sport's very own forest test facility, Greystoke. The drivers will have three runs with their best two times being combined to give their stage time.

The five top competitors will then be selected for a one-to-one interview with Malcolm Wilson, director of M-Sport and boss of the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT.

The winner of the shootout will then be announced at the end of the second day on December 10.

"It has been great to see the battle between Elfyn [Evans] and Alastair [Fisher] this year, and with the title going down to a points tie at the end of the year it just shows how evenly matched these drivers are," FST co-ordinator, Richard Millener summed-up.

"With Elfyn winning the title the only choice was Alastair for the nomination, the two boys are in a class of their own and both should have the opportunity to compete at the shootout."



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