By Robert Nkolo,
The FIA will begin a global talent detection Operation for future World Rally champions mid this year.
A few years back a similar talent search scheme took place Jon Williams from south Africa represented Africa in 2009 and Peter Horsey from Kenya represented African continent in 2010 at the end we saw the initiative helped unearth current WRC champion Ott Tanak and also other terminal drivers like Hayden Paddon and Craig Breen.
The FIA Rally star Director Jerome Roussel explains to Hapasport the future of the forthcoming Rally Star project and how this new ambitious grassroots talent uncovering will be different from the previous FIA talent search programs.
According to RallyStar Project director Jerome Roussel the project will cover Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia-Pacific, South America, and North America. Actually it’s been designed to give the opportunity to young people from all over the world. We’re currently building the regulations and the toolkit. The project should be fully available in June, with the ASNs being able to deploy it from this moment, Jerome Roussel Told Hapasport.
We asked Jerome Roussel to tell our readers more about the forthcoming scheme as it’s a golden opportunity for young people of all classes including the less privileged stars to Achieve their dreams or make a career out of it.
Roussel: The press release announcing FIA Rally Star should be sent in the upcoming days, but I’m happy to provide additional comments.
Hapasport: How Will Rally Star be different from past talent searches?
Roussel: There are several unique elements in FIA Rally Star. It is the first time that an operation of this type is launched on a worldwide scale, and where the chances between participants will be equally fair. With the format chosen, we will give a unique opportunity to a young driver from each continent. In addition, we will use Digital Motorsport as a selection tool. This will allow us to reach a new target, but also to facilitate access for all those who may not have access to a car.
Hapasport: What are the basic qualifications to enter the competition?
Roussel: You must be between 17 and 25 years old and come from a country where the ASN (national federation) has chosen to enroll and deploy FIA Rally Star. There may be a small participation fee, in the order of a few dollars.
Passport: How is FIA going to help the less privileged but Talented young drivers develop all over the world versus just Europe?
Roussel; As I said earlier, we are going to give equal opportunities to talent from all continents. At the end of the continental finals, we will, therefore, have six drivers from Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia-Pacific, South America, and North America. Plus the best female driver who can come from any country. From then, these seven young people will be put in the same conditions and only the talent will speak. At the end of a preparation season, the three best boys and the woman will go to JWRC. This is a unique opportunity for someone with the will to succeed.
Hapasport: How often is FIA planning to roll out this initiative?
Roussel: We are starting for one cycle and hope to launch a new one after two years. It will depend on our partners.
Hapasport: How Is FIA going to bring in more manufacturers as this directly affects the talent you identify?.
Roussel: This is another subject we are actively working on. There is a new generation of cars that will arrive in WRC from 2022. Cost control and the arrival of new technologies such as hybridization are at the heart of the discussions. It will be the ideal time for a manufacturer wanting to get involved in rallying.
Hapasport: What is a common misconception that you’d like to clarify?
Roussel: We often tend to think that the grass is greener elsewhere. But all over the world, access to motorsport is equally complicated because of the necessary budgets. We always try to control costs, while ensuring the safety of spectators and crews. Motorsport will never be free, but whoever has the will and the talent will manage to get out of it. If you take the example of Sébastien Loeb, he was a simple worker when he tried his luck at Rallye Jeunes, the equivalent of Rally Star organized by the French Federation. Look at the career he was able to have! There’s no reason why a young talent can’t reproduce that.
Hapasport: Any further insights you have would be greatly appreciated and any common misconception that you’d like to clarify?
Roussel: I would just like to reiterate that we are fully committed to the development of motorsport, in Africa and elsewhere. Your continent has tremendous assets, with incredible playing fields, a young and passionate population, and also a strong rally culture. The potential is there, now it must be revealed