A WINCHESTER teenager has been named the best young driver in the country.

Poppy Crowden, 16, who lives in Stanmore and attends Sparsholt College, won first place in her age category at the Young Driver Challenge 2019.

She won ten one-hour driving lessons, £200 cash, a £75 restaurant voucher, a trophy, and a signed copy of Quentin Willson’s latest book: Learn to Drive without Tears and Tantrums.

Poppy said: “I’m so pleased to have won! It’s been a fantastic experience. I was really pleased to have made the final from hundreds of entries and I’m really proud of how I performed on the day.

“The instructors put us to the test with lots of driving challenges, but it was good fun and a great opportunity to polish my skills behind the wheel.

“It’s definitely going to help make me a safer driver when I do go on to pass my test.”

Having been scored by a qualified driving instructor during a driving lesson, 40 of the UK’s best young drivers were selected to compete at the challenge final, from hundreds of entries.

TV presenters and motoring experts Vicki Butler-Henderson and Quentin Willson kept watch over how competitors were doing, before handing out prizes.

Vicki said: “What a day – it was fantastic to see how well the drivers handled the car - especially when some of them are just 10 years old.

“It was clear to see how seriously they took the responsibility of being behind the wheel and it was an honour to award all of them with their prizes as they were all thoroughly deserved.

“Hopefully all these youngsters having the opportunity to learn at an early age will create a safer next generation of young drivers for our roads, which is a huge benefit to us all.”

Drivers were judged on a range of driving skills, including reversing, parking, manoeuvring a slalom, handling junctions and independent driving.

As at all Young Driver events, the youngsters were in dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas with a fully qualified instructor, who marked them on their level of skill and control.

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing for Young Driver, added:

“Young Driver’s aim has always been to help our young people be safer drivers, by giving them that extra time to get to grips with how to handle a car long before they have the pressure of being anywhere near a main road.

“Of course, it’s also great fun.”