FIA Rally Star team completed
By Jason Craig
Sunday 7th May, 2023 - 12:52pm
Peru’s Annia Cilloniz says triumphing in the FIA Rally Stars Women’s Final made her realise she has what it takes to go all the way and be a real success in the World Rally Championship.
The 24-year-old overcame the challenge of Maja Hallen Fellenius (Sweden), Kristie Ellis (South Africa) and Pragathi Gowda (India) to secure her place on the governing body’s talent programme.
She was deemed the overall winner of her heat based on her performance at the controls of a TN5 Cross Car built and prepared by Thierry Neuville’s LifeLive organisation, as well as her physical and reflex test results.
Cilloniz completes the FIA Rally Star team that now heads to Sardinia later this month for a training session that will last 12 days. The others include Jose ‘Abito’ Caparo from Peru and South African Max Smart, Romet Jurgenson from Estonia, Oman’s Abdullah Al Tawqi and Australia’s Taylor Gill.
This will be followed by six outings in a Ford Fiesta Rally3 – starting with Rally San Marino (June 16-17) – and at the end of the assessment the six finalists will be whittled down to just four. Those who impress judges will each secure a drive in the one-make Junior WRC Championship in 2024.
“The FIA Rally Star Finals made me proud of myself. It gave me the opportunity to believe in my dreams and to keep growing,” said Cilloniz, who was entered into the competition as a wildcard.
“I know that it is just the start of a new adventure with a lot of things to learn, but this is the best program I’ve ever seen. I got a promise to keep, to be the best one for the FIA Rally Star program and a big mission for the women. And I want to make them on the top of the motorsport world.”
Cilloniz was presented with her prize by FIA Deputy President for Sport Robert Reid, FIA ERC driver Nil Solans, and Pernilla Solberg – the wife of ex-World Rally Champion and Subaru driver, Petter.
“I think it’s important to have a Final where we give the opportunity to girls all over the world to compete on equal terms with the boys, and to have the help and support that’s needed to get them in a rally car,” she said. “I have been really proud to be part of this project. It has been great and I’m so happy with the winner we picked today.”
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