Rubens Barrichello can boast of being a race-winning championship leader with a contract for next season -- the only pity being that he is not talking about Formula One.
“This weekend I won my first virtual race, which was great. It's amazing how competitive it is,” the 39-year-old Brazilian told reporters at last weekend's Italian Grand Prix where he finished 12th.
“It's called STCC 2, which is the Swedish touring cars. I've done four races now and I'm leading the championship. That's quite fun.
“I drive a Volkswagen Scirocco and I am contracted for next year already,” he added.
The picture in Formula One is less clear-cut.
The virtual world of racing, against rivals such as compatriot and Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, has provided a welcome distraction from the problems on the real racetrack.
“It is so professional. You have to look into the wind, the track conditions, you might go to the grid and you cannot go back to the pit and it's raining and you are on slick tyres. You have to be so precise,” he said of the virtual world.
“It's really unbelievable and its HD. “I am racing all against the guys from Brazil who race in stock cars. Massa is racing as well. there are 65 of us in the championship and then there are the guys who have been doing this for 10 years now.
“I love the internet. I do poker games and people don't know me, which is fun. But this one is just so damn professional,” added Barrichello.