Toyota Corolla driver Ryan Smart and his co-driver sister Rebecca have celebrated their second placing in this years Australian Rally Championship by taking the Kumho Future Champions Award at the final round of the 2010 ARC in Victoria.

The Smarts overcame a number of challenges during the recent two day Rally Victoria to bring their turbocharged Group N P Corolla home in fourth outright, which was enough to give them second in the championship behind eventual winner Simon Evans. The pair finished equal second in the championship but on a countback were awarded the ARC runner up spot ahead of Mark Pedder.

The Sunshine Coast siblings have had a meteoric rise through the sport having only started rallying in 2006. Ryan and Rebecca came close to winning the Future Champions Award at other ARC rounds this year, finally being awarded the prize in the final round after a tough and gritty performance that rewarded their persistence and determination.

According to Kumho Tyres motorsport manager John Mills the performance of the Smarts showed a level of maturity and speed throughout the year that was well beyond their level of experience in rallying.

"Ryan was under consideration at other rounds throughout 2010 but for one reason or another he just missed out, however with the determined drive in Victoria he could not be overlooked, particularly when that performance rewarded him with second outright in the championship," said John Mills.

"It's great to have won the Kumho Future Champions Award, especially after the effort we put in to get the Corolla home at Rally Victoria," said Ryan Smart.

"The eight tyres we have won as part of the Kumho award are going to come in handy as we head into season 2011 and we really appreciate the recognition Kumho has given us with this award," he added.

"Next year we are going to find it very difficult to continue at the level we are at. We need to find some sponsors that want to come and have as much fun with us at the events as we do. It would be a shame to stop now and the award from Kumho will be a big help for our championship hopes in 2011," he said.

Co driver Rebecca Smart was elated at taking second as well as the Kumho Future Champions Award and still can't believe what she and her brother have achieved in the past four years.

"Four years ago if you would have told me that I would be co-driving in the Australian Rally Championship, let alone be placed second outright, I wouldn't have believed you. It really has been an amazing time, and Ryan and I just have a ball, we are always laughing," said Rebecca.

The Kumho Future Champions Award is judged by Kumho and ARC management based on the ARC team which has shown the most professionalism, performance, determination and potential to become a future Australian Rally Champions.

The Kumho Future Champions Award has been designed to acknowledge ARC drivers efforts and give them the encouragement and incentive to continue in what is a demanding and expensive sport.

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 has been by far the largest commercial backing for the sport this year and will continue in 2011.
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