Kumho Tyres has announced changes to the Future Champions Award made in conjunction with the Australian Rally Championship, to broaden the eligibility and give greater recognition and encouragement to up and coming rally drivers.

Originally the Kumho Future Champions Award was open only to competitors in the Premier League category of the ARC, however it will now be open to any competitor contesting an ARC round.

In announcing the changes to the Kumho Future Champions Award, Kumho Motorsport coordinator, John Mills said the award would now have more benefit to a greater number of drivers and encourage more competition, while offering more incentive for up and coming drivers to continue in the sport and improve.

"We felt it was necessary to widen the criteria to ensure that we could acknowledge the performances of all drivers, not just those in the Premier League," said John Mills.

"Some drivers posted outstanding performances in both of the first two rounds however we could not consider them for the award because they had not entered in the Premier League," he said.

"The Kumho Future Champions Award is an encouragement award and often the drivers that need the most encouragement are those that have the least resources so it is important that they have the chance to be considered," he added.

The new rules will apply from this weekend's third round of the ARC, the Daikin Coffs Coast Rally in Coffs Harbour.

The judging criteria remains simple, with the winner to be judged as the ARC team which has shown the most professionalism, performance and the potential to become future Australian Rally Champions," said John Mills.

The award will be judged by Kumho and ARC management and will be made at the conclusion of each round of the ARC.

No registration or registration fee will be required and all ARC competitors entered in the event will be in the running for the award.

The winner of the award at each round will receive a voucher for eight rally tyres to be redeemed at the next ARC round.

That means winners will receive almost $2000 in direct assistance to their ARC campaign at the next round, giving them the chance to reduce their costs and bolster their budget.

The Kumho Future Champions Award was won by Victorian up and comer, Mark Fawcett, at the opening round in Tasmania and by NSW Mid-North Coast driver, Michael Boaden, at round two in WA.

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

Kumho's strong financial support to rallying will help regrow the sport and build a stronger competition into the future.

Competitors in the 2010 Australian Rally Championship have a choice between three different types of gravel tyre, the Kumho R900 for hard packed gravel, the R800 which is an asymmetrical design and aimed at loose gravel and the R700 which is a wet weather tyre designed for muddy conditions.
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