Rally driver Kevin Abbring has won the Driver of the Academy award following the completion of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy for 2011.
The 22-year-old Dutchman, along with the 11 other drivers included in the FIA Institute Academy, completed the final workshop in Austria this week. The award win comes shortly before Abbring's chance with Volkswagen's young driver assessment program on next month's Rally GB.
Program manager Robert Reid said: "Kevin has undoubtedly got a huge amount of talent and he has engaged with the Academy program exceptionally well. From the outset, he took everything in, both from a theoretical and practical perspective. He's going to be a great ambassador both for the FIA Institute and for the Academy itself."
Having spent a giant-killing season in the French Gravel Championship, beating four-wheel-drive cars with his Citroen DS3 R3, Abbring will move to a Skoda Fabia S2000 in Wales as part of VW's WRC development program.
Talking about his year in the Academy, Abbring said: "The FIA Institute Academy really has helped me to develop as a driver. We came here, thinking we could drive and, of course, we could, but there is so much more to the sport before you are able to get to the top. And this is where the Academy helps; it enhances your strong points and enables you to overcome your weak points, allowing you to develop into a complete package."
Next year's Academy will increase its intake from 12 to 30 drivers.