Faggioli: Indefatigable at the Ecce Homo

Dominating practice and both climbs of the event, the Italian Simone Faggioli leaves the rest of the field trailing in the Ecce Homo.
Vladimir Vitver

As a vast swathe of Eastern Europe was battered last weekend by adverse weather conditions and, in some places, flooding, the Ecce Homo event in the Czech Republic was somehow spared and the vast majority of the competitors who turned up at Sternberk had the opportunity to showcase their skills on a dry road.

Having won the previous event in Spain by an uncharacteristically narrow margin, the quintuple FIA European Hill-Climb Champion, Simone Faggioli, reasserted his superiority in the Czech Republic and reminded us all that he remains the undisputed master of the discipline, successively dominating each of the practice sessions and the two climbs of the course, and always managing to stay around four seconds ahead of his closest pursuers.

As was the case in the 2012 edition of the Ecce Homo, it was the Swiss Marcel Steiner and the Czech Milos Benes who flanked him on the final podium. If the gaps between the winner and his nearest rivals were very comfortable, just nine-hundredths of a second separated Benes from the young Swiss Joël Volluz, who achieved a very creditable fourth place and was the event’s best “rookie”. After some promising practice sessions, Julien Ducommun retired during the first heat, after having left the road.

Sixth in the general classification, the Italian Fausto Bormolini not only ran away with category E2-SC (two-seater prototypes) but also led the pack of the Formula 3000s, won by the Czech Otakar Kramsky, and thus consolidated his second place in the provisional Championship classification. Well known for his role as a television actor (he plays Commissaire Davide Riviere in the detective series “Rex”), Ettore Bassi is also a passionate motor sport fan, and in his free time the Italian likes nothing better than to take part in hill-climb events. Behind the wheel of an Osella PA21, he proved himself the fastest of the prototypes of less than 2 litres, achieving 15th place in the general classification.

On their home turf, the Czech drivers won each of the “closed” car categories, Dan Michl driving his Lotus Evora Silhouette to victory in E2-SH, Jaromir Maly taking Group A with his Mitsubishi Lancer and Jiri Los, also in a Mitsubishi, dominating Group N.

Finally, in the historic event, overall victory went to the Czech Jaroslav Prasek (Chevron B23), although as he was not entered in the FIA Championship he had to relinquish the points he won for first place to his fellow countryman Petr Tykal (Formula Easter MTX 1-03). Martin Vondrak, the pre-race favourite in his Formula 2 March 712, retired as early as the first round after leaving the road.

The Championship was supposed to have been held in Slovenia, but the Ilirska Bistrica event was postponed until 1 September, following the reconstitution of its organisation committee, and also because of the resurfacing work carried out on the course. Which means that next up in the FIA European Hill-Climb Championship, this coming 29 and 30 June, is the Coppa Paolino Teodori at Ascoli, in Italy.