Following the success of the inaugural round of the FIA WRC Academy at the Vodafone Rally de Portugal last month, M-Sport is pleased to announce that registrations for the feeder series will remain open until Monday 23 April.
Supported by Ford Racing in Europe and with control tyres from Pirelli, the WRC Academy crews impressed throughout the weekend. Battling with some of the most challenging conditions the world series has seen for decades, the stars of the WRC Academy put in an outstanding performance. Rising to the challenge where the more experienced faltered, nine out of the ten WRC Academy competitors completed the event with some of the most close-fought competition in the field.
Thriving in conditions resembling Wales Rally GB, the first victory went to Northern Irishman Alastair Fisher. With a further five events to come however, the competition remains wide open with a number of competitors in the running for the series laurels.
Following the release of the WRC Academy sprinter standings last week, the competition could not be closer. Fisher and fellow returnee Fredrik Åhlin stand equal on 18.3 sprinter points with second-place man Brendan Reeves, just 1.1 behind. Elsewhere there were impressive displays of speed from the likes of Pontus Tidemand on his first outing in the Ford Fiesta R2 and Elfyn Evans admittedly being overly cautious in the opening stages.
This year will see competitors count five scores from a total of six events. As such, those wishing to register for the Acropolis Rally and the remaining four events will be in with an equal chance of being named 2012 FIA WRC Academy Cup Champion.
The remaining rounds will see crews put all of their WRC Academy training into use at the notoriously rough Acropolis Rally before turning to the super-quick stages of Neste Oil Rally Finland. Two rounds of asphalt follow in Germany and France before the feeder series embarks on the mixed surface finale at the RACC Rally de España.
FIA WRC Manager, Michèle Mouton, said:
"I was very impressed with the [FIA WRC] Academy crews on the first round in Portugal. Given the conditions we saw, just to finish an event like that is a real achievement. The competition was great to follow and many of the crews remain in the running for the prize. It would be fantastic to see them joined by even more competitors for Greece.
"The [WRC] Academy is one of the most exciting initiatives in the sport at present. With expert tuition and experience of WRC stages, the series is the perfect means through which the sport's most exciting young talents might make the journey to the highest level of competition."
Registrations close on Monday 23 April. Those wishing to register their interest should contact WRC Academy Manager, Kate Rhodes:E: email@example.com