Josh McErlean has made the final shortlist for Motorsport Ireland's Young Rally Driver of the Year Award and the chance to land a support package of up to €100,000 for next season.
The 20-year-old British Junior champion from Kilrea has been named as one of three finalists from an original list of nine nominees in the race for the lucrative Billy Coleman Award, which was won last year by fellow Ulster driver James Wilson.
Also selected after an interview process earlier this week are 24-year-old David Kelly from Donegal and Andrew Mackarel, 23, from Monaghan.
McErlean, a mechanical engineering student at Ulster University, enjoyed an outstanding season in the British Championship, winning the Junior title in his R2 Peugeot 208 with maximum scores on three rounds - the West Cork Rally, the Pirelli International Rally and the Ulster Rally.
Mackarel, a former navigation champion, won his class in the Irish National Forestry Championship, while Kelly won the Junior category in the Cavan Rally, Midland Stages and the Fastnet Rally.
Surprisingly missing out on the final shortlist was William Creighton, the young Moira driver who won the Junior title in the Irish Tarmac Championship and was runner-up to McErlean in the British series.
The Coleman Award winner, who will be announced at a Motorsport Ireland lunch in Dublin on December 10, will receive the €100,000 bursary to contest rallies nationally and internationally next year.