Daniel, 11, is in the driving seat for a national final

Young Driver''Daniel Roper, age 11, at his first Young Driver lesson
Young Driver''Daniel Roper, age 11, at his first Young Driver lesson
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AN 11-year-old boy is celebrating after making the final of a national driving competition despite being six years away from the legal driving age.

Daniel Roper entered the Young Driver Challenge 2017 in Newbury. where a highly-qualified driving instructor assessed his skills behind the wheel.

Daniel from Southsea said: ‘I am so thrilled to have made the final of the Young Driver Challenge.

‘I’ve been having lessons with Young Driver since I turned 11 and I just love driving.’

The Priory School student beat off competition from hundreds of entrants and is amongst only 40 finalists who will travel to the NEC in Birmingham on September 30 to battle it out for the title of Britain’s best young driver.

The finalists compete in two age categories, 10-13 and 14-16, whilst being scored by judges on a variety of driving skills, including positioning, judgment, steering and independent driving, as well as manoeuvres including parallel parking, emergency stops and reversing into a parking bay.

Daniel said: It’s good fun, but I also feel like it’s giving me lots of practice before I take to the road for real. I love everything about driving. I like listening to the engine and that helps me understand when to change gear.’

Laura White, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: ‘Congratulations to Daniel!

‘We look forward to seeing him at the final, which is the highlight of our calendar. The skills these youngsters show behind the wheel is extraordinary. They really would put some of the drivers out there on the roads to shame.’

The competition encourages youngsters to value safe and responsible driving. Young Driver, which runs the Challenge, offers driving lessons to those aged 10-17 with the aim of reducing the shockingly high accident rate for newly-qualified drivers.

Laura said: ‘Our pupils take their learning very seriously, and parents and our Challenge judges are always genuinely surprised at how quickly they learn and how responsibly the youngsters act behind the wheel.’

Daniel added: ‘Making the Challenge final this year is amazing, I am really delighted.

‘I just need to remember everything I’ve learnt – and enjoy every minute!’