Students from the IEK AKMI University Athens became the latest group of young people to benefit from the FIA Education Programme when they took part in a seminar highlighting the role of physiotherapy in the FIA World Rally Championship.
Organised at the EKO Service Park in Lamia ahead of the start of Acropolis Rally Greece yesterday (Thursday), the seminar was hosted by FIA Rally Director Andrew Wheatley with key contributions from Danny Naessens, the Hyundai Mobis Shell World Rally Team’s Physiotherapist, plus and his counterpart from the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, Georgina Bentley.
During their visit to Lamia, the students took part in a question and answer session with Naessens, whose involvement in motor sport dates back to 2002. They then enjoyed a guided tour of the service park where they met Pablo Marcos, Team Manager of Hyundai Mobis Shell World Rally Team and Kaj Lindström, Sporting Director of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, during a visit to the Japanese manufacturer’s service area.
The session with Naessens was the main focus of the trip from the capital, however, and covered a number of topics, including driver injury and recovery, mental preparation, nutrition and hydration, plus the use of safety equipment in rally cars, such as head and neck restraint devices.
Following the session, FIA Rally Director Andrew Wheatley said: “We were very pleased to welcome the students from the IEK AKMI University Athens right into the heart of the FIA World Rally Championship and we hope they were able to take a lot from their visit and will be able to bring forward the knowledge gained into their ongoing learning. We also hope the opportunity they had to meet experts in the field of physiotherapy will inspire them to continue following this career path but, hopefully, with a focus on motor sport and the WRC in the future. The students were all very enthusiastic with a clear desire to learn and benefit from new experiences. They were a credit to their university and, while we wish them well with their studies, it would be fantastic if we could meet them working on future editions of Acropolis Rally Greece or other events for that matter.”
Hyundai Mobis Shell World Rally Team Physiotherapist Danny Naessens said: “It was a privilege to meet the next generation of physiotherapists and a pleasure to pass on some of my experience and knowledge. I enjoyed their enthusiasm and was very impressed at their questions and interest in my role in motor sport.”
Launched on Rally Estonia in July, the FIA Education Programme provides the next generation the opportunity to discover the world of motor sport as a future career path, while developing their skills and knowledge of specialist fields.
The FIA is proud to collaborate with ASNs, event organisers, WRC Promoter and all the stakeholders of the FIA World Rally Championship in this mission, which aims to promote the links between WRC events and the local community and create partnerships between the championship and educational institutions.
With the support and assistance of the ASN and event organisers, students of a nominated university are invited to join a Q&A session on a selected topic before experiencing a behind-the-scenes visit to a rally service park where they are given the opportunity to meet team principals and other key team members.