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Young Rally DriversFormer engineer to Tommi Mäkinen, Kimi Räikkönen and Nico Rosberg calls for better information and increased focus on young drivers, under the banner of “champs don’t cheat”.

A former WRC and Formula 1 engineer now running a successful race and rally preparations firm has called on the MSA to offer stronger support for young rally drivers, alongside tougher scrutineering for the cars taking part.

Dominic Delaney of Specialist Vehicle Preparations in Droitwich, Worcestershire has discovered just how hard it is to get information essential to a foothold on the Junior Rally ladder, by helping fifteen year-old son Tom to take his first competition steps this year.

“I’ve spent all my working life – over thirty years – in motorsport, and even I found it difficult to decide our best course of action,” said Delaney. “The MSA must review Junior Rally information from a beginner’s point of view and make things easier for new entrants if it wants the sport to thrive.”

One issue faced by young drivers is the lack of support available online. A forum supposed to encourage youngsters to explore rallying has lain practically dormant for months, with little effort to update content or or engage with rally fans.

“All these things take ongoing effort, and it can feel that no one is listening,” says Delaney. “But junior programmes in various motorsport arenas prove there is an abundance of young talent out there. These kids need proper development if the UK is to produce a future stream of potential World Rally Champions.

“Our Junior Rally team has done three rallies this year and is about to complete its final event of the season. As junior rally cars run only on open asphalt courses, relative pace is transparent. When supposedly identical cars pull away from equally capable competitors on straights, something’s afoot. It is up to the powers that be to pull the cars in and check their legality.

“When young drivers feel they have to cheat to win, they build a negative approach that endangers their future. Having worked with a number of World Champions over my career to date, and with absolute respect for their approach to motorsport, ‘champs don’t cheat’ is the only message the sport should endorse, regardless of the driver level.”

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