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2008 Pirelli Star Driver Contest : The 18 Drivers Who Will Fight it Out

The Gr. N Mitsubishi of Juho Hanninen, 2008 Rally Finland PWRC winner

The FIA - the governing body of world motorsport - working in perfect collaboration with various national sporting authorities and Pirelli, has revealed the identities of the 18 young drivers who will compete in Austria at the Pirelli Star Driver contest. The two winners will each receive a drive on six rounds of the 2009 WRC.

Milan, 26 September 2008 - After a series of local assessments over the last few weeks, the FIA has published a list of the 18 young drivers from Europe and Central and South America who will take part in the Pirelli Star Driver competition in Freistadt, Austria.

The competitors have all been chosen locally and entirely independently by their respective national sporting authorities (ASNs), who have put them forward for the competition in Freistadt that will take place from October 23-25. This contest will select two people to receive a fully-paid drive on six rounds of the World Rally Championship next year.

Thanks to the Pirelli Star Driver programme, developed jointly by the FIA World Rallies Commission and Pirelli, a total of five drivers will get the chance to compete on the 2009 WRC in a Group N or Super2000 car, obviously running on Pirelli tyres. The six rounds that the young drivers will tackle are Portugal, Italy, Greece, Finland, Spain and UK. The two drivers who are selected from next month's competition in Austria will join Jon Williams - the 25 year-old South African who will represent the African region - and two more drivers who will shortly be chosen from the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions.

Here, is the list of the drivers selected by their respective ASNs who will compete on the Pirelli Star Driver competition that will take place from October 23-25 in Freistadt (A):

Pirelli Star Driver competition: 18 drivers

Austria - Andreas Aigner
Belgium - Thierry Neuville
Bulgaria - Todor Slavov
Codasur region - Victor Galeano (South America)
Czech Republic - Martin Prokop
Finland - Jarkko Nikara
France - Guillaume Canivenq
Germany - Hermann Gassner
Ireland - Keith Cronin
Italy - Simone Campedelli
Nacam region - Benito Guerra Jr. (Central America)
Norway - Sveinung Bielvedt
Poland - Michal Ko?ciuszko
Portugal - Antonio Rodrigues
Spain - Yeray Lemes
Sweden - Patrik Sandell
Turkey - Emre Yurdakul
United Kingdom - Adam Gould

September 2008