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FIA Institute selects 30 young drivers for academy shootout 25 Oct 2011

The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy, Melk, Austria. © FIA FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy Selection Event, Melk, Austria. 6th February 2011 Alex Wurz, FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy Selection Event, Melk, Austria. 6th February 2011 The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy, Melk, Austria. © FIA FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy Selection Event, Melk, Austria. 6th February 2011 Craig Breen (IRE). FIA World Rally Championship, Rd12 Rally Catalunya, Salou, Spain, Day Two, Saturday 22 October 2011. F3 Euroseries 8, Circuit de Catalunya Barcelona, 18.- 20. September 2009 Race 2 Andrea Caldarelli (ITA) SG Formula

The FIA Institute has chosen 30 drivers who will take part in a four-day shootout to decide who will make it onto the 2012 Young Driver Excellence Academy. Only 18 of the shortlisted drivers will receive a place on the fully-funded training programme, which aims to help drivers develop their motor sport careers.

The shortlist is made up of young talent from 26 different countries, including competitors from Australia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Denmark, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, South Africa, UAE, UK and USA.

Amongst the 30 are a number of event winners from the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, Intercontinental Rally Challenge and Formula Three championships, as well as drivers with Formula One and World Rally testing experience.

"In just twelve months the Academy has become the most global driver development programme in motor sport,” said professor Sid Watkins, FIA Institute President. “We are proud to be able to help these future stars develop their talent both on and off the track, particularly with a focus on safety, and believe this will help them to success at the top level.”

Richard Woods, FIA Institute director general, added: "The global response to the Academy this year has been impressive. We are pleased to be able to help young competitors from all over the world at this important stage of their development and to ensure that our safety-first approach is spread far and wide amongst motor sport's future champions."

Once again, the selection process and training programme will be led by former Formula One driver and two-time Le Mans winner Alex Wurz and former world rally champion co-driver Robert Reid.

At the selection event, which will be held from November 15-18 in Melk, Austria, they will lead exercises designed to evaluate fitness and performance, media techniques, teamwork and psychology.

"This year we have a truly international field at the selection event with drivers from developing motor sport markets alongside those from well-established ones,” said Wurz. “To be chosen for the Academy they will have to prove themselves physically and mentally, and also in terms of safety and discipline. With the data gathered from the four days we will select the most promising talents and personalities to go forward into the 2012 Academy programme."

Reid added: "After the success of the first year of the Academy it is great to see such interest in the programme from further afield. We want to develop talent from all over the world, not just to be successful in competition but to act as safety ambassadors for the sport in their own countries for years to come."

The driver shortlist:
Marius Aasen, 19, Norway
Mohamed Al Mutawaa, 18, UAE
Klaus Bachler, 20, Austria
Andrea Bate, 22, South Africa
Craig Breen, 21, Ireland
Andrea Caldarelli, 21, Italy
Gabriel Chaves, 18, Columbia
Jonas Gelzinis, 23, Lithuania
Joseph Ghanem, 21, Lebanon
Parth Ghorpade, 18, India
Samin Gomez, 19, Venezuela
Richard Gonda, 17, Slovakia
Ashley Haigh-Smith, 19, South Africa
Yazan Hamadeh, 18, Syrian Arab Republic
Muhammad Nabil Jan Al Jeffri, 17, Malaysia
Michael Klitgaard Christensen, 21, Denmark
Jack Le Brocq, 19, Australia
Michael Lewis, 20, USA
Olivier Lombard, 20, France
Alexander Lynn, 18, UK
Diego Menchaca, 17, Mexico
Jose Andres Montalto, 21, Costa Rica
Thierry Neuville, 23, Belgium
Andrea Nucita, 22, Italy
Ramon Pineiro, 19, Spain
Brendan Reeves, 23, Australia
Pontus Tidemand, 20, Sweden
Timo van der Marel, 22, Holland
Sepp Wiegand, 20, Germany
Lewis Williamson, 21, UK

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