Scholarship gives Atkinson a boost for Brick & Steel Ecosse campaign

AN aspiring young Borders rally driver has been named as joint winner of a prestigious new scholarship run by RSAC Motorsport, in conjunction with the Brick & Steel Ecosse Challenge.

Callum Atkinson from Lauder was given the award by a panel of judges at the weekend along with Craig Rutherford from Mull.

The 21-year-olds were up against strong competition from two other finalists, Scott Balgowan from Duns and Scott Peacock from Castle Douglas.

The RSAC Motorsport New Talent Scholarship is open to Ecosse Challenge registered drivers who are under 23 and in their first or second year of stage rallying.

The award gives Callum a free entry to the RSAC Scottish Rally in Dumfries on June 30, in addition to £100 for each of the other four rounds of the 2012 Brick & Steel Ecosse Challenge he starts.

The selection panel met at Stirling University on Sunday, after a Colin McRae Junior Programme session organised by the MSA Scottish Rally Championship.

The panel who judged the four finalists were Grahame Douglas from RSAC Motorsport, Andrew Pemberton from the Brick & Steel Ecosse Challenge, Garry Headridge from the scholarship board, and Jordan Black, runner-up in the 2011 programme.

The drivers were questioned on car preparation, how well they worked with their co-drivers and other team members, and what they could bring to the scholarship.

After a lengthy discussion, the panel agreed that Callum and Craig had shown the most commitment and spirit during the interviews, and decided to award scholarships to both.

“We really couldn’t separate the two”, said Headridge: “It had always been the intention of RSACMS to offer the scholarship to two drivers from 2013. This decision brings forward our plans by 12 months!”

“All four finalists should be proud of what they have achieved,” said Pemberton. “This continues the strong relationship between the Ecosse Challenge and RSAC Motorsport.”

Callum said: “Winning the scholarship will definitely cement my future participation in the Ecosse Challenge this year due to the financial benefits. It will also help improve my media skills and hopefully help to attract sponsors.”

The second round of the Brick & Steel Ecosse Challenge is the Coltel Granite City Rally in Aberdeenshire on Saturday.