Aussies to head abroad for rally opportunity

Friday 29 July, 2022
Photos: Angryman Photography
Nine aspiring drivers have been confirmed as Australia’s representatives for the FIA Rally Star Continental competition in India.

With the prize being a fully funded drive in the Junior FIA World Rally Championship, the nine youngsters will head to India’s Madras Motor Racetrack to battle it out over a number of tests.

Leading the Aussie charge will be RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship drivers Taylor Gill, Ryan Williams, Aidan Peterson and Molly Spalding with Gill having been confirmed as the wildcard driver.

“I am super pumped for opportunity because things like this don’t come very often,” Gill said.

“I have had a good run of form this year, so I have some confidence, but I won’t know how I will go until I get there as I have no idea what the competition will be like.

“I am going to try and take advantage of this opportunity. Even if I don’t win, it will still be super cool and an awesome experience.”

The remaining five drivers will enter the event with just as much confidence.

Winning the FIA Rally Star Digital Challenge in Gympie last year after posting the fastest FIA Rally Star challenge time on the simulator, Ethan Kilbride will also get his chance to have a crack at the ultimate prize.

Kilbride’s sister Holly will also head overseas thanks to posting the fastest time for women across the digital qualifying sessions last year.

Rounding out the nine drivers heading over to India will be Curtis Dexter, Lachlan Spiteri and Jaidyn Gluskie – the latter of which also won a FIA Rally Star Digital Challenge.

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Currently, competing in the Motorsport Australia Tasmanian Rally Championship alongside Sam Berwick in his FWD Hyundai Excel, Gluskie enjoyed a memorable ARC debut at the Shannons Rally Launceston in June.

“Fortunately, I placed first at the Digital Challenge, which has given me the opportunity to travel to India to compete against other international drivers,” Gluskie said.

“These cross karts will be the first RWD car I’ve competed in outside of go-karts, so it will be a massive learning experience.
 
“Regardless of the event’s result, the opportunities are endless for myself and fellow competitors as training and supervision is provided by WRC rally royalty in attendance – I believe WRC star Thierry Neuville was at the European final.

“I am very keen to learn from the very best in the sport and to keep progressing on my motorsport journey who I have a lot of people to thank for.

“Overall, I am very giddy about the Asia-Pacific Finals and eagerly watching the days tick over until we can go.”

The nine Aussies will be be part of a competitor list of more than 150 drivers attending the four-day elimination style event.

The first day will involve all 150 competitors, which will drop to 40 for day two where the chosen drivers will run 12 competitive stages.

Only 12 drivers will make it to day three where they will complete up to 18km before six get to compete on the final day, along with the Women’s final, where they run another 18 kilometres.

From there, a champion will be decided and the dream of one day competing at the top level of rallying draws one step closer.

Click here for more information on the FIA Rally Star Program.

Unfortunately, the FIA Rally Star Intercontinental Championship was meant to take place in September this year, but due to factors outside of the FIA's control, the event has been postponed until a later date.
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