Hankook ‘Young Driver of the Year’
Jonny Leonard wins Hankook Young Driver of the Year Award
Ultimate experience at Ypres Rally in Belgium
Daventry, UK, 30th June 2011 – Last year’s Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship ‘Young Driver of the Year’ Award saw fierce competition for the chance to win an all expenses drive in an overseas International event. Over 30 competitors under the age of 26 faced continuous judging throughout the year on not only their driving ability but also their teamwork, presentation and media skills. At the close of 2010 Jonny Leonard was announced as the winner and set off to drive at round five of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Belgium’s Ypres Rally which took place on the 23rd – 25th June 2011. The prize included the supply of a works specification car, flights, travel, accommodation, full servicing and backup crew, fuel, paid entry fee and of course Hankook tyres.
Jonny did extremely well at the Ypres Rally catching the eye of fellow competitors as he set several of the fastest stage times. On the first day Jonny suffered a very unfortunate broken drive shaft which meant he undertook the remainder of the rally under Super Rally rules. “The nerves were definitely kicking in as I signed on with rally professionals such as Andreas Mikkelsen and Freddy Loix, thankfully they were calmed somewhat as I met up with the other Irish teams whom were also competing at Ypres.” said Jonny Leonard. Mike Patterson, Motorsport Manager Hankook Tyre UK added “Hankook were thrilled to bring Jonny to be part of the IRC Hankook team. We thoroughly hope he enjoyed the experience of rallying at the highest level.”
Jonny first entered into motorsport at just six years old when he began racing quads. At 15 years old he then traded his quad in for a rally car, continuing to increase his experience and successes as he went. Jonny had been driving five times Irish Tarmac Champion, Eugene Donnelly’s left hand drive BMW 3 series on the road in the run up to the rally to get to grips with driving left hand drive. He also had a run in the rising Irish Rallying star, Alastair Fisher’s R2 Fiesta S1600, the same car he drove at Ypres, so that he could familiarise himself with the speed, power and controls of the car.