Sat 26 Aug 2023

How Richard Burns computer game helped Zeiringer to Junior ERC best

Fabian Zeiringer has revealed how time spent playing a computer game helped him to his best FIA Junior ERC Championship finish so far on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last weekend.

The Austrian placed second in the Hankook-supported category following a fine display aboard the Opel Corsa Rally4 he shares with co-driver by Angelika Letz.

Afterwards, the former ski racer explained he’d learned the Semetin stage, used twice on the final day of the Tarmac event, by playing Richard Burns Rally.

“My experience in rallying is not that much but I always loved motorsport and had a simulator at home and did a lot of simracing,” the 26-year-old explained. “You could play the Semetin stage on Richard Burns Rally and when you have the option to train on a stage that you are doing in real you have to do it because it gives you confidence and makes you faster.

Zeiringer climbed from fifth to fourth with the second fastest time on the first Semetin run, completing the 11.51km 1.2sec behind stage winner Roberto Daprà.

“I enjoyed Semetin a lot because it was a little bit easier when you do it for real and you know what’s coming,” Zeiringer said. “You have no dirt on the road but it’s very similar on the simulator. The crests and the corners are pretty [much] the same so it’s good.”

Zeiringer’s Zlín podium was very much a breakthrough performance from the second-generation driver following a troubled start to his 2023 Junior ERC campaign.

“The season until now was very difficult with bad luck in Poland and the bad crash in Liepāja,” he explained. “Rome was just about being careful and getting to the finish and now [in Zlín] I think I showed my pace and what I am capable of. The goal before the weekend was around the top five so second place is awesome but the maximum we could get this weekend because Timo [Schulz] was just on another level.

“I feel sorry for Max [McRae] because it would have been a great fight with him [for second] on the final stage and he was also really fast with his [lack of] Tarmac experience.”

He continued: “The first stage [on Saturday] was the same like last year and I already knew it so it was a bit easier but the second one was new for everyone. There were a few suprirses in the cuts from the recce and you had to be careful, especially in the narrow and bumpy parts, but the Hankook tyres worked very good and the car was running excellently all through the rally with no problems, so I am happy.”

Zeiringer now hopes he can complete the Junior ERC season on Rally Hungary, which takes place from 6 - 8 October.

“The plan was four ERC rounds so we have to look in the next weeks [if it’s possible] but after this result it could be a dream to be on the start in Hungary.”

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