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How Fit4Race puts drivers in the right frame of mind during a rally

One of the lesser-known benefits of competing in the Junior FIA European Rally Championship is the availability of an on-event physical and mental performance coaching service.

Hungarian company Fit4Race has been in operation for 15 years and has worked with international sports stars and Olympians.

In recent years it has created a motorsport-specific training method that has been a success for drivers who have used the service.

The service was first introduced at Rally Hungary, round one of the 2024 FIA European Rally Championship and has been an almost continuous presence on all rounds since, thanks to Hankook Tires and the FIA European Rally Championship. 

“In the middle of Rally Hungary week, thanks to the ERC promoter, there was a mandatory briefing with all junior ERC drivers attending, where we told them, that if they needed any physical or mental help or advice during the weekend, we would be waiting for them with rally-specific exercises and methods. They were very open to it and four or five pairs of drivers come back to us every day,” explained Fit4Race founder Zsolt Matics,  a graduate of Semmelweis University of Physical Education and Sport Science in Hungary.

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver Aoife Raftery is one such driver who has used the on-event service. She is currently in Estonia preparing for the fourth round of the Junior FIA European Rally Championship.

Raftery and her co-driver Hannah McKillop attended one-on-one sessions with Fit4Race on both mornings of Royal Rally of Scandinavia last month.

Coaches were on hand to offer driver-specific advice to any Junior driver or co-driver that wanted it.

The morning warm-up itself is very interesting, as experts from Fit4Race focus on what is most important in rallying, combining visual stimulation with auditory stimulation – and they involve the co-drivers in the process too.

"It was great to work with Fit4Race at the Royal Rally of Scandinavia. They provided a fantastic service and were a great help with on-event support. It was beneficial to go to them each morning before the rally day started.”

 "They worked with us on warm-up drills and reaction training which helped us get into the right frame of mind heading into the stages,” explained the Peugeot 208 Rally4 driver.

“I took away how good it is to do a proper warm-up before rally day. Working with the guys from Fit4Race has made it even easier.”

Raftery and McKillop were put through a series of tests each morning designed to get them into rally mode ahead of each day of competition.

“One of the exercises, we put on a Virtual Reality headset and did reaction training with lights which was cool and impressive,” she added.

“Thanks to Fit4Race, and Hankook Tires for providing this on-event support. It really makes a great difference. I am looking forward to working with them in Estonia and for the rest of the Junior FIA European Rally Championship season.”

The pre-event seminar in Sweden focussed on the importance of rest and regeneration, considering the specific factors characteristic of the rally, and external conditions such as high temperatures.

Matics added: “In rallying, the most important thing is to be in the moment, neither ahead nor behind because that’s simply what you need to avoid making mistakes. Once you reach that status, something tough has to happen to take you out of the flow.”

It is this kind of knowledge that Raftery and McKillop will take into this weekend’s Rally Estonia.

Delfi Rally Estonia takes place from Friday to Sunday near Tartu and Otepää, bringing the FIA European Rally Championship back to the country for the first time since 2016.

The event provides another high-speed gravel test following last month’s fast-paced BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia.

Aoife Raftery is supported by Des Lyons Plant | Kenny (Peugeot) Galway | O’Neill O’Malley Architects and Project Managers | Loughrea Auto Parts | Craughwell Tyre Centre | Sean Fleming Motors | Quinn Hardware | Kerry Motorsport News

Text By Sean Moriarty / Pics by MI Rally Academy



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