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Fraser McConnell makes impressive debut at Tall Pines Rally

Published:Wednesday | December 9, 2015 | 12:00 AMShayne Fairman
Fraser McConnell

Despite making his debut in one of the most challenging North American rally events, 17-year-old Fraser McConnell had an electrifying start to Canadian motorsport which saw him place a sensational 11th place in the national standings, at the North America Tall Pines recently.

It was the teen's second rally as a young driver.

Co-driving for the Jamaican was the very experienced Nathalie Richard who helped the teen to third overall, first in class production in two-wheel drive, first in novice and 11th place in the national standings.

Co-driver Richard remarked of McConnell's exploits: "For his first rally he chose the most challenging event in North America (Canada), Tall Pines. He did a great job and impressed me right from shakedown, which was his first time sitting in a car.

"I was almost as proud of him as his supportive (but freezing) family members! Good stuff, Fraser!" she added, describing Rally of the Tall Pines as one of the most challenging annual events of the Canadian Rally Championship series.

A total of four classes of cars in the order of speed/power: four-wheel drive open, four- wheel drive production, two-wheel drive open, and two-wheel drive production.

The registered competitors faced off for National and/or Regional points and drivers were classified as 'Expert' or 'Novice'.

McConnell, who is currently a high school student in Canada, remains upbeat as he eyes a great future in the sport.

"It's a new experience for me. Good learning experience with a new car and new navigator.

"Throughout the day I got faster and faster. It was quite a challenge, but what was exciting for me is that I was beating turbo four-wheel drive and open class," the teen recalled.

He added: "It was like the biggest event in the world for me and I just wanted to make my name. I will be trying to compete more abroad next year and get more power in the car," said the 17-year-old."

Meanwhile, father Peter McConnell said: "We were torn about this decision because it coincided with Rally Jamaica, but we felt that he had much more to gain by competing in one of North America's premier rally events."

With Fraser now introduced to the North American Rally World in a big way, he will no doubt be able make an even positive impact next time and chart a way forward.