Christine Giampaoli Zonca: The Italian “thunder” behind the wheel

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Women are usually known for being very beautiful, cooking the tastiest meals, wearing the latest trends in fashion, so on and so forth but some of them are big time car enthusiasts and choose it as their profession.
One of them, is the charismatic Italian beauty from Canary Islands , Christine Giampaoli Zonca, who turned down her Economic studies in order to fulfill her dream; to become a rally driver. In an exclusive interview to Anna Krith’s Lifestyle, Christine GiampaolI Zonca, explains how her journey quest started and why she wouldn’t mind to move in Los Angeles after her rally experience in the city. She also gives tips to the girls who want to follow her steps in racing while she comments on how female drivers are treated by the male ones.

Anna Krith: Journalist
Christine GiampaolI Zonca: Rally Driver

A. How long have you been in rally racing and how did you get started?

C: I started pretty late (at least for this kind of sport, the age is very important!) – I was 17 when I started preparing my first chassis (Golf MKII) and then started working on a Toyota Corolla AE92, which I raced for first time in 2014. Best 4 years of my life!

A. You studied economics in Birmingham and then you changed course to Motorsport Engineering. How hard was for you to follow your dream?

C: Yes, I started studying Economics because that was what my parents would have liked me to do and to succeed at… but.. you can’t rule your heart!  It was very hard at the beginning to follow my dream, mainly because no-one in the family supported; it took me a lot of time to start from absolutely nothing and constant “never give up” words in my head. I am very happy now with what I have achieved, even if not as fast as I would have liked to 🙂

A. What is a rally race that you would like to compete in soon?

C: I started racing in Rally, but right now I am driving for an American team called @DynamicRacing, and it’s not rally cars anymore, but UTV’s! Basically beasts that race through the desert and run over everything, very exciting!!!
We raced the BAJA500 in Mexico and the UTV World Championship, soon more to come!
– Baja1000 in November, Vegas to Reno.

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A. Do you have any exciting moments that you would like to share?

C: Haha, too many!! Probably the two great moments I remember, when we won the Spanish Gravel Fem. Championship last year with a entirely Female team (mechanics, engineers, etc), and when, with the same team, we raced in the World Championship in Barcelona (WRC RallyRacc)!! Amazing result after so much hard work.

A. How are women drivers treated by most people and by male drivers?Are you ever feeling nervousness competing with guys?

C: Right now, women in Motorsport are growing immensely, it’s not a “strange thing” anymore; for me personally they have always been respectful and I would say – I actually love the fact that racing is also against men! It is very challenging.

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A.Do you maintain and repair vehicles on your own?

C: When I was racing my own rally car, yes I would enjoy to do the work on it (with help of good friends of course!) – but right now I just love to help when the team chief mechanic let’s me! haha

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A. What kind of training program do you have to prepare before a Rally?

C: Well, for a rally event you have a lot of work beforehand; the Co-driver, at least a month before needs to organize the planning of the race and know what we have to do on racing day. I would train physically (cardio and weights), watch onboard videos of the race and, if possible, test the car a few weeks before.

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A. You have travelled in so many countries around the global. Where would you settle and how often do you visit your birthplace (Canary Islands)?

C: I actually moved to Barcelona in October, and I love it; but as I am racing here in the States now I am travelling constantly to Los Angeles… I wouldn’t mind moving here full time, it’s an incredible city! My mum still lives in Fuerteventura (Canarias), so I go back when I can, to see her, my cross bike and my rally car haha!!

A. Latest technology plays a big role in Motorsport. Therefore, the question arises how will we drive tomorrow?

C: Of course we can already see the tremendous change motorsport has made with the technological development; positive and negative wise I would say.
Positively because of course, development in technology will improve the safety, more effective cars (advancements in turbocharging, innovations in suspension systems etc) – and in our specific team case, we have a simulator for training purposes, which is also a big step forward with technological innovation, as we can now train, improve driving skills and “test” our car without really being at a circuit.

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Negative-wise as in, the driving changes completely; I understand that time have changed, but if we take as example the WRC cars nowadays, we can literally do anything to it, such as download any information on stages and upload an upgraded map to the cars ECU for peak performance. Let’s say that the modernization level we are reaching is fascinating, but it somehow “alternates” the vehicle control skills of a driver, which is really the attractive part of rallying!

A. Would you race in Cyprus?

C: Of course! If the opportunity arises, I would be more than happy to!

A. What’s your goal and plan for the future?

C: Keep learning, become a better driver and hopefully never stop racing!!

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A. What advice would you give to other girls who want to be race car drivers?

C: What I always say is to never give up; it’s important because I really know how hard is to start from zero, but I also know how, if you never stop believing it, you can achieve it!
I have always positioned Racing in my life as main goal/purpose; that’s how you overcome obstacles and get to succeed in what you love!

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