Current Rookie and Junior New Zealand Rally Champion, Matt Jansen, has been successful in his application to attend the Elite MotorSport Academy in Dunedin in the second week of July. The 22 year old from Christchurch is one of nine up-and-coming race and rally drivers selected from the 18 applicants for the 2010 intake of this annual Academy, which is organised by the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust.

It is a week-long, highly intensive experience, now in it's seventh year, and is proving to be an important stepping stone in a driver’s development, teaching them about a wide range of subjects important in achieving high performance in the sport.

Announcing the awards, Chairman of the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust, Steven Kennedy said, “The Academy has been a tremendous success, and that is highlighted by the success of the drivers who have graduated.

“The programme, which is run for the Trust by the New Zealand Academy of Sport South and Otago University’s Sports Science specialists, focuses on a wide range of skills required for high performance sport. Participants have to meet a very high standard of physical fitness prior to commencing the course.

“The scientists have recognised that the level of fitness and reflexes of the young drivers we have put through the academy has been the equal of Olympic athletes and their reaction times have been equal to, or better than, those of fighter pilots.

“The Academy is a tough, demanding programme, both physically and mentally. It's benefit shows in the performance of many young Kiwi drivers both at home and overseas,” he said.

Jansen sees this as a vital way to help fasttrack his knowledge and development, as he will be exposed to all the elements that are vital to getting the best out of himself both in and out of the car.

"The Academy will take us through modules on fitness, nutrition, mental skills, performing under stress - both physical and mental - as well as dealing with the media and sponsors, so it will be a brilliant opportunity to learn as much as possible - then put it into practice, particularly during the two year follow-up programme," said Matt.

"I have taken the chance to talk to others like Hayden [Paddon] who have already been there, and all of them can't speak highly enough of just how good it is and how they have benefited from it in so many different ways.

"So now it's up to me to make the most of what is likely to be the most important week in my rally career so far - and my thanks go out to the Trust for giving me this awesome opportunity."

Photo: Euan Cameron

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