Hill Climb - Championship heads eastward | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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Hill Climb - Championship heads eastward

On the heels of its escapade to the far west of the continent, the FIA European Hill Climb Championship sets up camp this weekend in Sternberk in the Czech Republic, a country which has supplied the Championship with the highest number of competitors

The Ecce Homo Hill Climb in the Czech Republic is traditionally one of the most exciting rounds of the European Championship and promises not to disappoint this year. 210 drivers are expected to turn up this Saturday and Sunday, 4-5 June, including the leading figures in the FIA Historic Hill Climb Championship, who will make up the event line-up.

While the teams and drivers are now focussed forward, over the last two events, the elements have played a big part in proceedings. The most loyal competitors of the European Hill Climb Championship can attest to sometimes bitter experiences with the weather this season.

Strong rain ruined one section of the course in Falperra, Portugal, and with the exception of some local drivers, most of the competitors in Category 2 (single-seaters, prototypes and silhouettes) decided that the weather conditions were too treacherous for them to stay in control and drive safely. As such there was no running for them on the Sunday.

Less exposed to the elements in their closed and also slower cars, the drivers in Category 1 chose to go up against both the sodden track and the clock. The Austrian driver Christian Schweiger (Mitsubishi Lancer), Italian Antonino Migliuolo (Mitsubishi Lancer) and Spaniard Jose Lopez-Fombona (Audi R8 LMS Ultra) each came away with 25 points from their Portuguese venture, winning Groups A, N and GT respectively.

The drivers were also faced with rain – albeit this time patchy and less heavy – a week later in Spain at the Al Fito race. Simone Faggioli (Norma M20FC) came out on top in the general classification, ahead of Christian Merli (Osella FA30), though that did not make any difference to the score. The two compete in different categories, which they both dominate, resulting in them both pocketing 25 points for each of their victories and remaining neck and neck in the provisional European Championship classification.

Faggioli and Merli will continue the fight this weekend in Sternberk at the Ecce Homo Hill Climb. While Faggioli does not seem to need to fear any competition in his category (E2-SC), the same cannot be said of Merli, who needs to watch out for Milos Benes (Osella FA30), driving on home turf, without forgetting all the main hopefuls who are also competing in his category (E2-SS), such as young drivers Paride Macario and Joël Volluz.