Peru’s Annia Cilloniz has taken a big step towards a World Rally Championship career by winning the FIA Rally Star Women’s Final.
Cilloniz, 24, saw off competition from Hallén Fellenius (Sweden), Kristie Ellis (South Africa) and Pragathi Gowda (India) to book herself a place on the FIA’s talent development scheme.
As a result, Cilloniz will join fellow continental final winners Jose “Abito” Caparo (Peru), Max Smart (South Africa), Taylor Gill (Australia), Romet Jürgenson (Estonia) and Abdullah Al Tawqi (Oman) in the FIA Rally Star Training Season which starts with a training camp in Sardinia.
Each finalist will compete in six rallies with a Ford Fiesta Rally3, starting with Rally San Marino (June 16-17) and the best four drivers will earn a full Junior WRC program in 2024.
“The FIA Rally Star Finals made me proud of myself,” Cilloniz said.
“It gave me the opportunity to believe in my dreams and to keep growing. I know that it’s just the start of a new adventure with a lot of things to learn, but this is the best program I’ve ever seen.
“I got a promise to keep, to be the best one for the FIA Rally Star program and a big mission for the women.
“I want to make them on the top of the motorsport world.”
Pernilla Solberg, FIA Rally Star jury member, added: “I think it’s important to have a final where we give the opportunity to girls all over the world to compete on equal terms with the boys, and to have the help and support that’s needed to get them in a rally car.
“I’ve been really proud to be part of this project. It’s been great and I’m so happy with the winner we picked.”