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Victorian Luca Giacomin and experienced co-driver, Brett Williams, will this year step up to a 4WD Subaru Impreza WRX for the pacenoted rounds of the Focus on Furniture Victorian Rally Championship.

Luca Giacomin testing his new Subaru WRX recently. (Photo: Craig O'Brien)This follows an impressive season piloting a Hyundai Excel in the Our Auto Rally Series in 2016.

Speaking at a recent test day, Giacomin revealed his path had been a little different to his counterparts. Dabbling in go karting as a junior, he switched his focus to simulator racing through Gran Turismo on Playstation 3 and iRacing on PC, but he’s not your average console gamer.

“In 2014 I qualified for the international finals of the Nissan GT Academy,” Giacomin said.

It’s a competition that pits the best sim racers from around the world against each other to win a factory drive, and has unearthed the likes of 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour winners Florian Strauss and Wolfgang Reip.

On his return to Australia, he dedicated himself to learning about driving real race cars at Trackschool in NSW, before switching his attention to rallying.

At the back end of 2015, rallying identity John Carney set up a test in a Hyundai Getz rally car with tuition from Australian international rally ace Brendan Reeves. Reflecting on his first test on gravel, Giacomin said: “Rallying opened a new world of car control ability to master.”

Fast forward a little over 12 months and after an impressive 2016 which netted them second in the series, they’ve opted for an outright car in 2017.

“It’s exciting. The new car gives me confidence to push, and thanks to the experience gained from the Our Auto Rally Series, it translates well to driving a 4WD,” he said.

The first round of the VRC will coincide with the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship at the Eureka Rally in Ballarat, from March 18-19.

- Craig O’Brien

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