Opotiki’s Mike Young is set for further international exposure after being invited to join the M-Sport run Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta Trophy in the 2015 World Rally Championship.
The invite comes after the 22-year-old took out the Asia Pacific Rally Championship Production Cup and was runner-up in the overall APRC drivers championship.
Mike Young in action during the 2014 rally of Whangarei. Photo: Euan Cameron.
“To say I’m excited is an understatement,” says Mike, “and while we’re totally committed to the APRC this year in a Cusco Subaru Impreza, the dates all work so we’re scrambling now to see if we find the budget.”
The DMACK Fiesta Trophy consists of five European WRC events starting with Portugal in May, followed by Poland, Finland, Germany before finishing in Spain later in the year.
“It’s [Ford Fiesta Trophy series] a great series with lots of variation in surfaces,” he adds, “and it is really well run. We checked it out last year during a trip to WRC Germany and were really impressed by the support for young drivers.
“It’s a great stepping stone for sure, but only possible to do this year if we can find the funding.”
After issuing the invitation, M-Sports’ Andrew Wheatley says Malcolm Wilson and the DMACK team all agreed that having a driver from the Asia-Pacific championship would be a great opportunity to share the good news of the Fiesta series in that region – deciding upon Young as the driver.
“He’s a driver that’s shown considerable maturity, finishing second overall in last year’s APRC drivers’ championship,” says Andrew.
“Plus he did it in a 1600cc car, which shows he has the ability too. We like his attitude and would very much like to see him in the championship if there is any opportunity.”
The DMACK Fiesta Trophy has an impressive list of former winners that have all gone onto factory supported drives including Craig Breen, now a Peugeot factory driver in the European Rally Championship/WRC2.
Also on that list is Elfyn Evans, a Ford factory driver, Pontus Tidemand, who’s just signed for a manufacturer-supported programme, and last year’s winner Sander Parn, who’s getting ready for an all-expenses paid drive in WRC.
Young and his team will be working hard in the coming weeks to find the funding required for the WRC drive, but also with an eye on the calendar as round one of the 2015 Asia Pacific Rally Championship is only six weeks away.
It begins at the International Rally of Whangarei on April 17-19, where Young will drive a Cusco prepared Group N Subaru Impreza.