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Young Rally Driver of the Year Finalists are announced

Motorsport Ireland has announced the eight nominees for this year’s Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award.

These comprise the five bi-monthly winners from January-February through to September-October along with the highest placed driver from the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, the winner of the Junior category in the Dunlop National Rally Championship and finally two wildcards.

Kevin Eves from Donegal was the first name on the list as he secured the January-February nomination for his results in the Galway Rally.

The March-April nomination went to Monaghan driver Josh Moffett, who won the Production class in the Circuit of Ireland International Rally, and also took class wins in both the Munster Moonraker Forestry and Monaghan events.

In May-June, the outstanding young rally driver was Cormac Phelan from Roscommon, who won the Junior class in the Carlow and Circuit of Munster Rallies, giving him a hat-trick of three in a row in the Dunlop National Rally Championship. He went on to take the Junior title, earning a double nomination.

Galway driver Dean Raftery was the nominee for July-August, with class victory in the ALMC Rally and second place in class in the Ulster International Rally, a round of the British Rally Championship.

The final bi-monthly selection was Chris Armstrong from Cavan, thanks to his outright win in the GSMC Rally in October, backed up by second place in class in the two day Wexford Rally and a class third in Clare.

Conor McCarthy from Dunmanway, Co Cork, was the winner of the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship.

The wildcard selections to complete the list of finalists went to Rob Duggan from Killarney and Monaghan’s Richard Moffett, a cousin of Josh, for their impressive results during the year in both tarmac and forestry rallies.

All eight nominees will be interviewed by an independent panel with the list being narrowed down to three finalists. The winner of this year’s Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year will then be announced at the Motorsport Ireland Dunlop Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards on December 10.

The winner will receive support to the value of €50,000 to compete in rallies nationally and internationally in 2015. The two runners up will receive free entry into a number of Motorsport Ireland permitted events during 2015. All three finalists will also receive the benefit of advice and assistance from Tom Walsh, Co-ordinator for the Billy Coleman Award. Tom has been involved in the management and mentoring of young rally drivers in International competition for many years and has also acted as Clerk of the Course for Rally Ireland.

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