Youngsters priced out of FIA’s Academy

THERE is unlikely to be a stampede of Irish applicants for the second intake at the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy.

Earlier this week, Motorsport Ireland announced details of the scheme aimed at preparing young drivers to compete at the pinnacle of the sport. Ireland, like all the other ASN’s (governing bodies) have been asked by the FIA to nominate two young drivers, who will go through a further selection process at the FIA.

If successful, the participants will benefit from the expert tutelage of Alex Wurz, former Formula 1 driver and double Le Mans winner, alongside Robert Reid, former WRC champion co-driver.

Last season, just a handful of Irish drivers applied, with the Motorsport Commission selecting Robert Barrable and Daniel McKenna to go forward, however, both were unsuccessful in the final process.

Given that the competitors will have to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements, Motorsport Ireland probably won’t have any representatives for the scheme.

Meanwhile, Barrable, who had a disappointing outing in last week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlin, is hoping to put a package together to contest the San Remo Rally in Italy. Should that not materialise, he is likely to contest the Cork 20 International Rally instead.

Based in Kenmare over the last few years, the Killarney and District Motor Club have announced that this year’s Historic Rally will return to Killarney.

Clerk of the course, Kevin Flannery stated the event will feature the classic stages – Moll’s Gap, Beallaghbeama and Caragh Lake. It is also possible that Gortnagane will be used, with the final run at night.

Tomorrow’s Davagh Rally in Cookstown is a round of the Hankook two-wheel drive Northern Ireland Rally Championship. Camillus Bradley and Kieron Grafin, both in Escorts, are the top seeds.

Meanwhile, the Castle Hellfire Rally, over six stages on Sunday, is based at the Oldcastle House Hotel, Oldcastle.

The National Hillclimb series continues this weekend with the Donegal Motor Club hosting a double header at Knockalla beginning at 11am tomorrow and Sunday.

Following victories in the latest rounds of the Dunlop National Rally Championship and the Irish Tarmac Championship, Tim McNulty is on course to win an unprecedented double in the one season. His next outing is the Ennis-based Clare Rally (September 18) where he can clinch the national series, provided he takes the maximum 20 points and his title rival, Kevin Barrett, secures no more than 16 points. In the ITC final round, the Cork 20 International Rally (October 3/4), a top-three finish will be enough for McNulty to win the title.

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