It is the most important prize in British rallying — and five of the nine drivers involved in the fight for it this week are Irish.
The winner of the Pirelli Star Driver shoot-out can look forward to an all-expenses-paid season in next year’s British championship in a Subaru Impreza prepared by the title-winning TEG Sport team — a superb prize worth in excess of £200,000.
The finalists have been selected for their individual performances during the past British championship season and now face three tense days at the Sweet Lamb rally complex in Wales during which their driving skills, fitness and media capabilities will be assessed by a panel of experts.
It was another Irish driver, Keith Cronin, who took the prize last year and he went on to win the British championship for a second time last month.
The five-strong Irish contingent this time includes Carryduff’s Jonny Greer who led the British series for much of the season and was on course to finish fourth overall and win the Group N production category for a second year in a row until he crashed on the final stage of the IRC Rally of Scotland on Sunday.
Also included are Alastair Fisher, Ulster Rally winner Craig Breen, Robert Barrable and Daniel McKenna, all of them hoping for a potential career-defining opportunity to join a top professional team.
The other finalists are Elfyn Evans from Wales, Finns Mikko Pajunen and Jarkko Nikara and England’s Tom Clark.
Breen has also been selected for the Pirelli Global Shoot-out which takes place the following week at Salou in Spain.
There he will face 15 other finalists from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe, all of them hoping to secure one of six fully-funded drives in selected rounds of next year’s World championship.
“The next 10 days are going to be the most important of my career so far,” said the 20-year-old from Waterford.