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Abbring wins FIA Institute 2011 Driver of the Academy award 28 Oct 2011

Holland's Kevin Abbring, FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy, Workshop 5, Teesdorf, Austria, 27 October 2011 FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy Selection Event, Melk, Austria. 6th February 2011 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

Dutchman Kevin Abbring has won the Driver of the Academy award for the inaugural FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy. The 22-year-old rally driver was presented with the trophy at a graduation ceremony following the final Academy workshop in Teesdorf, Austria on Thursday night.

Abbring’s ability on the track and his understanding of the safety elements of the Academy’s curriculum impressed the Institute throughout the year. He has already expressed his commitment to be an ambassador for the Institute, advocating the Academy-learned safety messages.

As part of his prize, Abbring will be taken to a World Rally event with Academy Performance Managers Robert Reid and Alex Wurz, who will ensure he has the opportunity to meet some of the World Rally Championship’s most influential people to help him progress his career.

As well as participating in the 2011 Academy, Abbring has performed exceptionally well in his championship this year. The former Junior World Rally Championship frontrunner has been one of the stars of the French Gravel Championship, regularly placing his Citroen DS3 R3 in extraordinary overall positions and winning the two-wheel-drive category.

Abbring is one of 12 motorsport competitors, who have all now graduated from the Academy. Each driver was given a certificate to mark this achievement and a specially engrave watch from Formula One sponsor TW Steel.

Programme managers Robert Reid and Alex Wurz - both of whom have competed at the highest level of global motor sport - picked Abbring out of an exceptional bunch of Academy graduates.

Reid said: “This has definitely been a very difficult decision - all of the guys have been very good. Kevin has undoubtedly got a huge amount of talent and he has engaged with the Academy programme exceptionally well. From the outset, he took everything in, both from a theoretical and practical perspective. He’s going to be a great ambassador both for the FIA Institute and for the Academy itself.”

Richard Woods, FIA Institute Director General, said: “Kevin’s natural ability in a car helped him to get onto the programme, but his determination to learn more about the safety aspects of motor sport, allied with great leadership and motivation, have earned him the Driver of the Academy award.”

Abbring himself is in no doubt about the benefits brought to him through the Academy programme this year. He said: “The FIA Institute Academy really has helped me to develop as a driver. We came here, thinking we could drive and, of course, we could, but there is so much more to the sport before you are able to get to the top. And this is where the Academy helps; it enhances your strong points and enables you to overcome your weak points, allowing you to develop into a complete package.

“The safety aspect of the programme is vital as well. It doesn’t matter if you are competing or driving on the road, safety remains paramount. This programme instils those safety messages in us and arms us with the ability to teach others.”

For more information on the FIA Institute, click here.