A Kinross teenager has become the youngest driver to be awarded the RSAC Motorsport New Talent Scholarship, which aims to set fresh talent on the road to a successful rallying career.
Kinross High School pupil Blair Brown (17) from Muckhart will receive over £1000 worth of support which includes free entry to the prestigious RSAC Scottish Rally in Dumfries on June 29th, a key round of the Scottish and British Rally Championships.
The two-year scholarship is open to drivers under 23 that are registered for the Ecosse Challenge; a feeder series for the MSA Scottish Rally Championship.
Blair, who finished 4th in his first junior season last term, will also receive media training, management guidance and £100 for each round of the Ecosse Challenge he competes in.
He admits the support from RSAC Motorsport will be invaluable, with the award also giving him entry to the high profile 'media stage' of the RSAC Scottish Rally.
Blair said: "I am absolutely delighted with winning the scholarship and I am very thankful to RSAC Motorsport. I think it will benefit me greatly by giving me more media attention.
This will be my first season in the Ecosse Challenge so I will get experience working with the RSAC Motorsport. Without this scholarship I would have struggled in the media stages. It is major part of the season for me and an opportunity to become more known in rallying.
The financial aspects will also help a lot. I want to make rallying a career and I know it is very difficult to break into but I believe that with the RSAC's support and getting my name out there this scholarship will be greatly beneficial to my future plans."
Blair was brought up around rally cars and began quad bike racing in Scottish championships at 12 years old. After deciding to move into car rallying he bought and built a Micra with his father and competed in the Junior 1000 season. This year Blair is driving a Peugeot 205 in the Ecosse Challenge.
Garry Headridge, Scholarship Administrator and Deputy Clerk of the Course at RSAC Scottish Rally said: "The New Talent Scholarship is about giving the opportunity to young drivers to get behind the wheel in a forest and develop their own skills. The scholarship provides the framework of support and takes some of the barriers of competing out of the equation. We look forward to working with Blair in 2013 and into the future."
Also on hand at the announcement was Callum Atkinson, 22 from Lauder, who is in his second year of the scholarship. He said: "I have gained huge benefit from the scholarship in the past year. It given me a platform to progress in the sport.
My advice to Blair is, practice as much as you can, the RSAC have been great at giving me help. It brought a lot of financial benefits, media benefits and I have met new people and contacts within the sport, which is necessary for any driver to progress."
Andrew Pemberton, co-ordinator of Ecosse Challenge said: "It will benefit Blair as a new driver in the Ecosse Challenge, as it has benefitted Callum, giving him support which is vital. All drivers need help with the tools and the trade of rallying so they can progress upwards in the sport and into the future. This scholarship provides this. We are very grateful to the RSAC Motorsport for their support."