Following the one-day Metalman Possum Bourne Memorial Rally, Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon and Whangarei’s Ben Jagger have stretched their leads in the two Rally New Zealand Rising Stars Awards.
Paddon and Jagger head Rally’s Rising Stars competitions Following the one-day Metalman Possum Bourne Memorial Rally, Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon and Whangarei’s Ben Jagger have stretched their leads in the two Rally New Zealand Rising Stars Awards.
Paddon’s total in the Rising Stars International Award can’t be beaten with just one qualifying event remaining. Paddon and second-placed Sloan Cox, from Rotorua, have both completed their four nominated events, but Nelson’s Kieran Hall still has his home event, Rally Nelson, in which to add to his points’ total. Hall can still beat Cox to take one of the two guaranteed places in the Rising Stars shootout in November which will decide the International Award winner for 2009. Christchurch drivers Josh Marston and Matthew Jansen are also registered for the International Award, but did not compete in the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally. After Rally Nelson, the drivers not going through to the shootout in the top two places can apply for a wildcard entry to the shootout which sees the winner take out a prize pool worth at least $50,000.
In the Rising Stars Development Award, Jagger is in the same position as Paddon, being guaranteed a place in November’s shootout. Second-placed Patrick Malley, from Auckland, is in the same circumstances as Cox – his nominated events are complete and now he must wait to see the results from Rally Nelson to know whether third-placed Ben Hunt, from Nelson, has earned enough points to take the second shootout position. Again, the three drivers not going through to the shootout on points can apply for a wildcard entry to compete for the Development Award prize pool worth at least $50,000.
The Rising Stars Development Award is for competitors currently running in the N3 or production car front-wheel-drive championship, and offers the 2009 winner professional support and funding to run a four-wheel-drive car in Rally New Zealand and the New Zealand Rally Championship in 2010. The Rising Stars International Award provides the 2009 winner with significant funding and support to contest a major international rally in 2010. Each award prize package is worth at least $50,000 and compliments the Rising Stars Scholarship for a rookie driver which was won by Hunt during a shootout weekend in March this year. Hunt’s Scholarship win has provided him with expert mentoring and a professionally-prepared Ford Fiesta in which to contest this year’s five-rally Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship and the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally.
“His success to date means, Ben Hunt, a 21-year-old former tennis champion, has the possibility of winning a second Rising Stars competition in the same year,” says Rally New Zealand chairman Chris Carr. “While Ben Hunt isn’t through to the Development Award final yet, he certainly has a good possibility of achieving that goal. If this happens, he’ll be up against some talented competitors with fellow Ford Fiesta driver Ben Jagger already assured of his place in November’s shootout.
“What’s really exciting for us at Rally New Zealand, who developed the Rising Stars driver development programme with the aim of fostering the skills of our young rally drivers both on and off our local rally roads, is that we’re seeing all of the young competitors involved with Rising Stars making a huge effort this year. Their cars are professionally presented, they’re working hard on their media skills and they’re driving at a new level. It’s all very encouraging to see and, after Rally Nelson in September, we look forward to meeting a fine group of young drivers at our November shootout to determine who wins this year’s Rising Stars International and Development Awards, and the 2010 Scholarship,” says Carr.
Drivers interested in competing for the 2010 Rising Stars Scholarship can contact Rally New Zealand via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, to receive an application form. Applications close on 2 November with the 2010 Scholarship weekend shootout scheduled alongside the International and Development Award shootout over the weekend of 21 and 22 November in the Maramarua Forest.
The current points for the 2009 Rally New Zealand Rising Stars programme can be found on the Chris Sport website.
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