Motorsport Ireland, the governing body of motorsport in Ireland, has announced that Keith Cronin has been selected as its candidate for the Pirelli Star Driver scheme, which will give five young rally drivers the opportunity of competing in a series of six WRC events in 2009.

Eighteen European countries, which organise a round of either the World Rally Championship or the European Rally Championship, have been invited by the FIA to send a driver to a Shoot-out in Freistadt in Austria on October 24-26, where a panel of judges will select two of the five successful drivers.

The remaining three fortunate youngsters will be selected, one from each FIA region, from the African Rally Championship, the Asia Pacific Series, and the Middle East Championship.

The five drivers, who must have been under the age of 27 on 1st January 2008, will use identical Group N or Super 2000 cars in the six World Championship events in 2009, supplied and serviced under an FIA contract with a specialist preparation company.

Cronin, who won the Billy Coleman Award last year, is currently contesting the 2008 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK.

"This is a huge addition to the opportunities already provided for our Young Rally Driver of the Year and I have every confidence that Keith will do us proud," said Motorsport Ireland president, John Naylor.