Seventh European title for Faggioli
Even if he often kills the suspense through his supreme domination on the European events, Italy's Simone Faggioli (Norma M20FC-Zytek) continues to arouse the admiration of keen hill climb enthusiasts. He is an expert collector of victories (9 wins out of 9 this season!) and titles. Crowned for the first time in 2005, and unbeaten since 2009, he has now – not surprisingly – added a seventh European title to his record after the Swiss event at Saint Ursanne-Les Rangiers.
The Swiss classic has a reputation for being difficult on account of its ultra-fast course (180 kph on average for the winner), and was even more so this year thanks to the changeable weather conditions, with rain during the first practice session on the Saturday and thick fog on the Sunday morning. Having started almost two hours late because of insufficient visibility, the race subsequently suffered a few other interruptions after a number of run-offs (without serious consequences for the drivers), to the point where race control was obliged to cancel the third timed climb.
On the first climb, Faggioli failed to break the absolute record for the course, which he himself had set twelve months before, by just one tenth of a second. Proof of his incredible efficiency and his precision behind the wheel, on his second climb the Italian set a time that was within 12 thousandths of a second of his first! And while Faggioli did not break his own record on a single climb, he nevertheless improved on his 2013 result with the accumulated time of the two heats. Although two events remain to be run (Slovenia and Croatia), no driver can now challenge him for the 2014 title.
Outpaced by almost three seconds on the first heat, Christian Merli and his Osella PA2000-Honda "featherweight" improved on the second, setting a time only one second short of Faggioli's. At a pace that has been steadily increasing since the start of the season, at the wheel of the original Wolf GB08F1 with a V8 engine (born from the mating of two motorcycle engines), young David Hauser from Luxembourg took a very convincing third place ahead of the Formula 3000 or Nippon cars of Fausto Bormolini (Reynard K02), Tiziano Riva (Reynard 92D), Otakar Kramsky (Reynard K14), Philippe Guélat (Lola T94/50) and Simon Hugentobler (Reynard 93D). From the rich pack of F3, Formula Master and Formula Renault cars, the young Frenchman Billy Ritchen (Dallara F303-05) emerged in the lead and even took 10th place in the general classification.
Concerning closed cars, the victories went to the Czech drivers Dan Michl (Lotus Evora, E2-SH) and Jaromir Maly (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo8, GrA), Belgian Yannick Bodson (Porsche 997 Cup, GT), and Macedonia's Igor Stefanovski (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9, GrN). Like Faggioli in Category 2, Stefanovski is already assured of the title in Category 1.
To view the provisional classification of the FIA European Hill Climb Championship, click here.
Thanks to 7 wins out of 10 participations, Macedonia’s Igor Stefanovski is the 2014 FIA European Hill Climb Champion in Category 1.