The debut was challenging, but I’m already looking forward to the next season, says Jiří Zbožínek

The debut was challenging, but I’m already looking forward to the next season, says Jiří Zbožínek

Circuit debutant Jiří Zbožínek moved from kart racing to the Clio Cup with the support of ESET RaceStar. The 2022 season was a baptism of fire for him and he has a lot to build on in the coming ones.

How do you rate your 2022 season?
I rate the season positively, considering that I graduated from the circuit school at the beginning of March 2022 and it all happened quite quickly. I didn’t even have the opportunity to test the car before the start of the season, I gained my first experience at the first race at Hungaroring. We had no experience with the Clio car and since it was an older car, we were dealing with technical problems through the season. Although I am not completely satisfied with the overall result, we have recorded some partial successes, so I rate it positively.

Was it difficult to get used to a completely different race car?
Yes, it was very challenging because after years in karting, it was very difficult for me to get used to a front wheel drive car. The kart is rear-wheel drive, so I had to completely change my driving style. Also, the Clio is much heavier and it was difficult for me to start working with that weight. Anyway, during the season I gradually got used to everything and learned to work with the car and change my driving style correctly.

You achieved best result in Poznań – fourth and fifth place. Does this mean that this track suits you? Alternatively, which one did you like in the calendar?
Definitely Poznań suited me very well. During the race weekend, I really liked the track and enjoyed it. I also enjoyed Hungaroring, Red Bull Ring and Grobnik as well.

Which moment this year stuck in your memory?
I have two moments that stick out in my mind the most. The first is definitely the fight with Henrik Seibel in Poznań, and the second moment is the last lap in Grobnik. In both cases, those are valuable racing experience.

Although it is a cup Clio, i.e. identical technology, this championship has been dominated by the Carpek Racing team for the last few seasons. How big was your team? And what is needed for the driver/team to reach the absolute top?
Our team is smaller, only three of us were going to the races. However, everyone gave their best, and for that I want to thank them very much. It is necessary to focus on the best possible technical preparation, pre-season testing, possibly tests during the season with thorough data analysis. This is related to car setup for individual circuits and, last but not least, financial security.

You were racing with ESET Race Star support. How important is such support for your career?
Very important, because motorsport is a very expensive sport. I really appreciate any support, we have just started and we want to continue successfully in the next seasons.

So plans for the upcoming season are already taking shape?
Yes, I definitely want to continue in the Clio Cup in 2023 and achieve the best possible results. Next year’s calendar looks interesting, so I’m definitely looking forward to next season and hopefully I’ll have even more fun.