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Victorian driver Mark Fawcett has become the first driver to win the Kumho Future Champions Award for 2010, taking out the prize at the opening round of the ARC, Rally Tasmania in Burnie over the weekend.

Fawcett, a multiple Victorian Rally Champion, is stepping up to the ARC for the first time in 2010 and had a tough and challenging initiation to the national championship, blowing a turbo on the Saturday leg of the three day rally giving his crew a major task to repair his Subaru WRX in time to start the final leg on Sunday.

According to John Mills, Kumho's motorsport coordinator, Fawcett won the first Future Champions Award for both his driving efforts and the effort of his team in getting the car running again to complete the rally.

"The Kumho Future Champions Award is about more than just outright results, it is about the grit and determination that is required to get to the top in rallying and Mark and his team displayed that in trumps across the weekend in Tasmania," said John Mills.

Fawcett and co-driver traded stage times with Sydney's Charlie Drake across the weekend with the both drivers in contention for the Kumho award until the very end of the rally.

A multiple Victorian State Rally Champion Mark Fawcett is having his first tilt at the Australian Rally Championship and received eight new tyres for the next round of the series in Western Australia in mid April as his prize for winning the Future Champions Award.

Ross Dunkerton, a five times Australian Rally Champion, the presenter of the ARC TV coverage and a rally legend presented Fawcett with his award at the conclusion of Rally Tasmania.

"After such a tough weekend I am absolutely rapt to take out the Kumho Future Champions Award and the eight tyres will certainly help our efforts in this year's campaign," said Mark Fawcett.

The Kumho Future Champions Award has been designed to help ARC Premier League drivers to step up to the elite level and give them the encouragement and incentive to continue in what is a demanding and expensive sport.

The award is given to the Premier League team which shows the most professionalism, performance and potential to become future Australian Rally Champions.

As control tyre supplier, Kumho is putting its backing into the Australian Rally Championship with a reduction in the cost of tyres, encouragement awards and a significant rights fees going to the sport, Kumho's commitment to rallying is by far the largest commercial backing for the sport this year.
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