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Six co-drivers from around the country have been selected to attend the inaugural Rally New Zealand co-drivers Academy in August.

Kiwi co-driver John Kennard has had a long successsful career in International Rallying and guided Hayden Paddon to the top level of the sport. (Photo: Geoff Ridder)The Rally New Zealand Co-Drivers Academy to be held from 1st-3rd August is aimed at developing Kiwi co-driving talent to compete at the top level of the sport. Over the three days of the Academy the participants will receive coaching on all aspects of the co-driver’s role including practical pace note writing exercises, event planning, fitness training and media promotional activities.  

The six attendees are:

Kieran Anstis – 20 years of age - Auckland –currently co-driver to Matt Jensen in the NZ 4WD Rally Challenge. Started competing in 2014 and a graduate of the 2016 Elite Motorsport Academy.

Sarah Brennan - 25 – Greymouth -  currently co-driver to Chris McLean in the NZ 2WD Rally championship. Started competing in 2010, with two national titles achieved being the 2013 and 2014 Open 2WD Champion co-driver

Karl Celeste – 31 - Christchurch –currently co-driver to Deane Buist in the NZ 2WD Rally Challenge. Started competing in 2011 and most recently finished 3rdoverall at the Canterbury round of the NZRC.

Samantha Gray – 22 - Christchurch –currently co-driver to Keith Anderson in the NZ 4WD Rally Challenge. Started competing in 2015, and most recently achieved a class victory in the 4WD Rally Challenge at Rally Canterbury.

Malcolm Peden – 43 - Hamilton –currently co-driver/team manager for Jack Hawkeswood/Force Motorsport in the NZRC. Started competing in 2003 and experience in New Zealand and Asia Pacific Rally Championship events

Amy Stokes – 23 – Rangiora –currently Co-driver to brother Robbie Stokes Rookie Season in NZ 2WD Rally Championship in a Toyota Levin. Started competing in 2013 co-driving for father and former National Rally Champion Brian Stokes.
Rally New Zealand have enlisted professional rally co-drivers Alex and Rhianon Gelsomino to host the academy with support also to be provided by New Zealand’s own World Rally co-driver John Kennard. Italian born but now American based, Alex is well known as the man in the co-driver’s seat for World Rally and Gymkhana superstar Ken Block.

Rhianon, from Victoria, Australia, currently competes in the American Championship with works Toyota driver Ryan Millen, having previously competed in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship with Kiwi driver Emma Gilmour.

Developing co-driving talent to compete at international level is the aim of the Academy says Rally of New Zealand Limited Chairman Paul Mallard.

“Rallying in New Zealand is enjoying a growth period at present with unprecedented competitor numbers in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship. Hayden Paddon has clearly demonstrated Kiwis have what it takes to compete at World Championship level, and Rally of New Zealand wants to assist in developing co-drivers to support our driving talent,” states Mallard.

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