Driving ambition puts Zak on track in Madrid

By Chris Were   |   Reporter   |
Sunday 25th September 2022 6:00 am
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Advanced driver Zak Southwood from Herefordshire – joint winner of the UK heat of the European Best Young Driver Competition – will represent the country in the International finals organised by the FIA which take place at the Circuito del Jarama in Madrid in October.

The news that a county motorist will represent the UK comes ahead of a driver refresher day at the Larruperz Centre in Ross-on-Wye tomorrow (Thursday, September 22), organised by Herefordshire Advanced Drivers (HAD), starting at 9.15am

For those who wish to tune up their driving skills and feel safer in traffic, the event is open to motorists of all ages and experience, and will help motorists feel more confident and reassured that their driving is of a good, safe standard.

Zak said of his success: “The competition was very testing but also very exhilarating.

“I want to thank all those who have helped me develop my driving skills and I’m really looking forward to the final where I’ll be doing my best to ensure that UK comes out on top.”

The competition, open to drivers aged 18-26 years is designed to prove that young drivers can drive responsibly and safely. It tests the skills that are essential to being a good driver, including a knowledge of traffic rules, road safety, first aid and vehicles.

Zak, 24, who lives in Kington, went through a rigorous application process which led to him being invited to take part in the UK heat organised by IAM RoadSmart and the FIA in partnership with Williams F1 at their training centre in Oxfordshire.

In addition to searching knowledge tests contestants were required to demonstrate calm, confident and safe driving on the Williams Racing sport simulators.

As the joint UK winner he will compete in Madrid against finalists from other countries which will involve a day of intense manoeuvring skills.

The ultimate winner will receive an unrestricted ticket to an FIA Formula 1 race.

Adrian Barlow, HAD chairman said: “We are all very proud of Zac and to be the joint winner of the UK Competition is a tremendous performance. We wish him much success in the final in what will be the experience of a lifetime.”

The programme begins with an update on the rules of the road, which is important in view of the changes introduced by the new highway code.

This is followed by a presentation and discussion of safer driving before an observed drive with a qualified observer.

No testing is involved but the observer will advise gently about adjustments to improve safety and performance.

The day starts 9.45am but attendees are asked to arrive by 9.15am to register, check documents and complete a simple eye test.


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