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FIA Hill Climb Masters: first impressions before the big day

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We take a look at how the 2018 FIA Hill Climb Masters is shaping up with today’s fastest test runs by Christian Merli (Category 2), Will Hall (Category 4), Michal Ratajczyk (Category 3) and Lucio Perrugini (Category 1).

This Saturday in Gubbio, home of the 2018 FIA Hill Climb Masters event, was a day of two halves: the first part of the day saw the serious business of time trials on the track while the second was infused with a party atmosphere marked by celebrations among the participating nations.

At 10am sharp, the first Category 1 car, Kosovan Gazmend Demolli’s Opel Astra, launched into the 3.3 km test run. Although the Italians were driving on familiar terrain (this sector has been a stage in the Italian Championships for over 60 years), the foreign drivers spent this test day getting to know each twist in the road – as well as the occasionally surprising angles of the road edges. Many drivers felt that they had made much progress after their first test runs. Tomorrow’s race times are sure to be shortened with each of the three runs. But will this be enough to oust Italian drivers Christian Merli, Simone Faggioli and Domenico Scola, who carried off the top three positions in today’s trials? We’ll have to wait until the racing is over tomorrow afternoon! The first non-Italian was twice-crowned French champion Sébastien Petit, who finished today’spractice in fourth place.

In Category 4, British driver Will Hall was fastest in the two practice heats. Meanwhile, Polish drivers Michal Ratajczyk and Szymon Lukaszczyk chalked up the best times in Category 3 in their high-powered Mitsubishis, with Lucio Peruggini steering his Ferrari 458 GT3 to a top finish in Category 1.

With today’s sporting events behind them, the drivers joined their national groups and took to the streets of Gubbio in an Olympic parade-cum-folk festival atmosphere. The procession culminated with the presentation of each participating nation and each driver on the square in front of the magnificent Consular Palace before an enthusiastic crowd. There was a carnival atmosphere full of camaraderie in Gubbio’s Piazza Grande. Make no mistake though: the tone tomorrow will be one of fierce competition as the drivers set their sights firmly on gold, silver and bronze! The first leg of the race begins at 9am and you can take in the event either in Gubbio itself or live on the FIA social media via YouTube ( and Facebook (

For more information on the FIA Hill Climb Masters, click here.

For live results, click here.

For live streaming, click here (YouTube) or on