Young driver’s first taste of speed

She cannot legally drive a car yet, but that did not stop a Queenstown teenager spending Saturday tearing up Coronet Peak’s access road in her first motorsport event.

Marite Balzarini (15), pictured with her father Mauro, was the youngest in the field for Queenstown Car Club’s Coronet Peak Hill Climb, driving on tarmac for the first time in a loaned vehicle.

As a reward for doing well at school, her parents decided to send her to Hamilton’s Rally Drive NZ for training in August.

However, Mr Balzarini, a former professional motorcycle rider, said Marite didn’t know how to drive a manual at that point, so they thought they should get her comfortable with one before she headed north.

Since then she has set up her own rally course in a paddock on her family’s property, using cones and created some of her own jumps.

Of Saturday’s experience at Coronet Peak the beaming teen said it was "so much fun".

She would like to carry on with motorsport — "we just need to convince Mum".

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