Off Road

Milner Advances to the Women’s Final in FIA Rally Star

3 Mins read
Credit: Motorsport UK

Young British talent Katie Milner, who represented the country in the FIA Rally Star global detection programme held on the rallycross track of Estering in Germany on 29-31 January, has advanced to the Women´s Final which will be held in North America later this year.

Milner was one of the four Britons who represented the country in the competition. With the support of Katie Baldwin on behalf of Motorsport UK Academy, she went together with Rob Wilson, George Lepley and John Bebnowicz-Harris to Germany where they raced against drivers that represented countries from different parts of the world.

After stage one, Milner was the only woman who qualified, but stage two was worse as during her first run she failed to finish, but luck changed when the panel that includes well known names in the world of rally such as Robert Reid, Malcolm Wilson, Thierry Neuville and Pernilla Solberg gave her the chance to take part in the shootout that she later won.

Together with Swedish Maja Hallen Fellenius, they will go to North America later this year and compete in the Women’s Final.

“I’m over the moon to have qualified for the Women’s Final in North America, it’s been a very challenging weekend with a lot of pressure, but I’ve enjoyed every minute. It was a great event run by the FIA and gave me a new challenge with the change between gravel and tarmac. I’m looking forward to getting my head into gear and training now for August” Milner said.

Credit: Motorsport UK

Wilson, who won the final in the UK, which was run at Motorsport UK’s Bicester headquarters last year, moved on to the final with an excellent run as he had three fastest times in both stages.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity to make the final and be selected in the final 12 from Europe. I have so many learnings from this weekend that I will implement into my rallying. It’s been such a privilege to compete and make it this far and hopefully this opens doors in other rallying competitions.” Wilson said.

Lepley who was a wildcard finished at the top of his group in stage one that he clocked the fastest time of 10 drivers but during stage two he suffered technical problems that costed him to advance to the final.

“The FIA rally star European final has been fantastic; I won my group in stage one and made it through to stage two. I was absolutely gutted that a technical issue meant I didn’t qualify for the final 12 by 0.7 seconds and was unable to get a re-run. But I’m so pleased for the others from the UK team, and I can certainly take a lot from the experience with driving under pressure during a once in a lifetime opportunity. I hope there is something similar in the future.” Lepley said.

Bebnowicz-Harris qualified via # RallyAtHome-Challenge and before the British final in Rally Star which was run last year he has never competed in a car but in Germany he went on to stage two after he came fourth in the group but was eliminated afterwards when another driver beat his time.

Credit: Motorsport UK

“It’s been an eye-opening experience to be honest, firstly because of the improvements I have made on this journey and the confidence I have gained. Secondly, it has been incredible to see the hard work and dedication that goes into hosting this kind of event, it makes me feel happy that the FIA have so much faith in this concept!” Bebnowicz-Harris said.

“The FIA Rally Star event has been a fantastic opportunity for our drivers to compete side by side with Europe’s top future talent.  It has been the ultimate test of adaptability, character and performance under pressure.” Baldwin, Competitions Pathway Manager, Motorsport UK, added.

“I’d like to congratulate all of our four finalists on their professionalism and outstanding effort – they represented the UK impeccably across the whole weekend and should be very proud of their achievements. I’d like to thank our Motorsport UK Academy Coach, James Wozencroft, who has been working with the drivers behind the scenes to support their training and preparation and has made such a positive impact on their performances this weekend.

“We’re looking forward to supporting Katie through the next phase of preparation ahead of the global women’s final.”

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Covering rally, rallycross & other motorsport news for The Checkered Flag with over 8 years of experience working with all sorts of media & PR related things in motorsport. To bring all the latest news from different series to our wonderful readers on The Checkered Flag is always a pleasure for me.
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