EHC: TRNKA ASSERTS HIMSELF IN THE WAKE OF MERLI AND FAGGIOLI | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

EHC: TRNKA ASSERTS HIMSELF IN THE WAKE OF MERLI AND FAGGIOLI

  • gb
02.06.21

While Merli and Faggioli once again eclipsed all competition for the scratch victory in the Czech round of the FIA European Hill Climb Championship, local hero Petr Trnka caused a sensation: for his first international outing at the wheel of a 3-litre V8 engine prototype, he took the third step of the podium.

With only 44 thousandths of a second separating them at the end of the first race heat, Italians Christian Merli (Osella FA30 Zytek) and Simone Faggioli (Norma M20FC Zytek) started the Ecce Homo race as they had finished the opening round of the Championship in Portugal, in Boticas (32 thousandths between them). The second climb of 7.2 km in Sternberk was to be decisive. Just like the first one, Merli was going to get the advantage, by only 4 tenths of a second! The two rivals were in different groups (E2-SS for Merli, E2-SC for Faggioli), so they both took 25 points from their trip to the Czech Republic. In the provisional FIA European Hill Climb Championship standings, Merli continues to benefit from Faggioli's forced withdrawal from the Spanish event and leads the way with a comfortable lead.

A resident of Sternberk, the host town of the classic Ecce Homo (first edition in 1905), the young Petr Trnka (28) grew up marvelling at the hill climb cars that every year invaded the streets, alleys, and the smallest car park of the town used as a paddock. After starting out in a small single-seater Gloria C8 with a motorbike engine, followed by a Ligier JS53 with a 2-litre engine, Trnka broke his piggy bank and convinced a series of local sponsors to move up to the top class, with a 3.0 V8 Norma M20FC. With his motivation at its peak and his perfect knowledge of the course, Trnka caused a sensation, taking third place in the final scratch classification, ahead of drivers who are much more experienced than him in this type of car, including Milos Benes (Osella FA30 Zytek), Diego Degasperi (Osella FA30 Zytek), Sébastien Petit (Nova NP01-2 Zytek) and Fausto Bormolini (Reynard 2KL Mugen)! Trnka, who has become accustomed to racing abroad over the past few seasons, plans to compete in several other European rounds this season with his new toy, and could become the third strong man of the Championship, following the lead of the top drivers Merli and Faggioli.

Absent from Portugal and Spain, Dan Michl and his atypical V8-powered Lotus Elise marked his return to the European scene, with an undeniable victory in Category 1 on a course he knows like the back of his hand. Ronnie Bratschi of Switzerland (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII RS) and Karl Schagerl of Austria (VW Golf Rallye) tried to make up for the time lost to Michl on the first climb, but their course exit – in the same corner! - affected their times in Race 2, leaving the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo "Bergmonster" of Poland's "Dubai", winner of Group 2, in second place in the final category. Groups 3, 4 and 5 were won respectively by the Italian Antonino Migliuolo (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), the Czech Jiri Osmera (VW Scirocco) and the Slovenian Alès Prek (Honda Civic Type-R).

Rankings of the third FIA European Hill Climb Championship: here

Next event: Coppa Paolino Teodori, Ascoli (ITA), 25-27 June.