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Pirelli's successful junior rally driver program will be back in 2021, as the Italian tyre make takes over from Michelin as the WRC's official tyre supplier. Pirelli has joined forces with the FIA to back its newly established Rally Star programme, continuing the Italian firm’s long-term commitment to support talented young drivers at every level of rallying. Rally Star is a recently launched initiative which brings together national motorsport federations from around the globe, identifying talented drivers between the ages of 17-25 through a mixture of digital motorsport and slalom driving in production vehicles. From eight successful finalists - one of which is guaranteed to be an aspiring female rally driver - four will get the chance to compete in the Junior WRC, exclusively supplied by Pirelli.
A full-season prize drive in WRC3 is on offer to any of these four drivers who can win the Junior WRC title within two years of joining the championship.
Rally Star is Pirelli’s latest investment in elevating future world champions of rallying, after it gave reigning world champion Ott Tanak his big break a decade ago with its Pirelli Star Driver programme. Pirelli Star Driver, along with the Pirelli-backed WRC Academy, was the most successful young driver programme in the history of rallying, giving WRC championship leader Elfyn Evans, Rally Argentina winner Hayden Paddon, Hyundai factory driver Craig Breen, Australian champion Molly Taylor and Italian Tarmac champion Andrea Crugnola opportunities on the world stage, in addition to Tanak. The first phase of Rally Star, backed by Pirelli, begins in early 2021 when the FIA will begin open competition with the WRC 9 game for places in regional finals. Pirelli rally activity manager Terenzio Testoni commented: “We are proud to renew our traditional commitment alongside young drivers and new talents and to work side-by-side with FIA in this programme. "This commitment is an important part of our history in the sport that has always given us great satisfaction and which has been appreciated by enthusiasts. "Planning and supporting the future of rallying with concrete projects is an obligation of all the protagonists of this wonderful discipline.”
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