Rules formulated last week by the FIA for selecting the under-27 Pirelli Star Driver award candidates indicate a variety of regulations according to the various regions of the world where they compete. Whereas the African championship candidate will be chosen according to championship points on the events in the ARC through the season, the Asia Pacific candidate will be selected on performances on only one event, the Malaysian Rally which is the penultimate round of the APRC. And the career promotion prospects will be based not on the overall results of the rally but only on speed on the stages, whether or not they qualify as a finisher.
APRC candidates need not be registered for the series itself but only as contenders for the award, whereas ARC colleagues must be registered for the championship itself. The Whangarei Rally, third round in the APRC, has a bearing on the selection of a candidate, in that the two stage fastest drivers among the under-27 APRC drivers on that event will be given financial help to travel to Malaysia.
The challenge itself however will only be decided on performance on that later event, whether or not they compete there at their own expense. The strangest feature of the APRC Star Driver rules is the required reliance on speed in Malaysia. APRC coordinator Murray Brown said: “the weather factor in Malaysia can be extreme. Conditions on stages can turn from rock hard gravel to deep and glutinous mud in minutes. When this happens, it is quite the most technical event in the series”.
Already announced is that there will be not one but two candidates chosen from the European series, but there is still no other news at all concerning the selection of the driver from Europe or the Middle East series.