Hill Climb - Christian Merli goes it alone | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Hill Climb - Christian Merli goes it alone

03.08.18

The 8th and 9th rounds of the FIA European Hill Climb Championship took place one week and barely 150 km apart, in Dobsina, Slovakia and Limanova in Poland, providing two opportunities for Italy’s Christian Merli to dominate and to keep his place at the top of the European provisional classification in Category 2.

The Dobsinsky kopec and Limanova events are not only close geographically – they are also similar in terms of the rapidity of the course, as witnessed by the average speeds reached there by the winner (180 and 175 km/h respectively).

After suffering engine trouble during the practice heats in Slovakia, Simone Faggioli (Norma M20 FC Zytek) did not take the start of any race heat and was obliged to withdraw for the next event. The way was therefore clear for Christian Merli (Osella FA30 Zytek), who asserted his stamp of authority, winning both his climbs with an advantage of around 9 seconds over his closest rival. Merli showed the same mastery one week later in Poland. These two victories reinforce his position as Championship leader in Category 2.

The absences of Simone Faggioli allowed Guy Demuth to step into the spotlight: at the wheel of his Judd-engined Norma M20FC, the driver from Luxembourg was Merli’s successor in Slovakia and Poland, taking the victory in Group E2-SC. These two excellent performances have now pushed him into the Top 10 of the European Championship provisional classification.

Fausto Bormolini also achieved major results at these distant venues, finishing 4th and 3rd in the general classifications, and on two occasions placing second in Group E2-SS in which he competes in his Reynard K02. His nephew Andrea (Osella PA20/S) has been unbeaten since the start of the season in Group CN and, as such, remains Christian Merli’s most serious adversary in the race for the European laurels.

Having won in Group E2-SH on four occasions during the first half of the season, Vladimir Vitver (Audi WTTR-DTM) had to content himself with two second places, beaten in Dobsina by his compatriot Marek Rybnicek (Ford Fiesta Turbo 4X4) and in Limanova by Poland’s Szymon Lukasczyk (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo). Vitver nevertheless remains 3rd in the provisional classification of the European Championship in Category 2.

In Category 1, the Czech Lukas Vojacek continues to take advantage of his Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 4X4’s superiority over the opposition, made up essentially of Honda Civics, to dominate in Group A. He is now way ahead in the Championship; his main rival in the race to the title, France’s Pierre Courroye, despite winning in Slovakia and Poland, fell victim to an insufficient number of starters in his category (GT), which meant that in Poland he scored only half the points from the usual scale.

The best Group N Mitsubishi Lancers again outstripped all the Group A cars: in Slovakia, victory in the group was brilliantly secured by the Czech Gabriela Saljerova (less than 4 tenths of a second faster than her husband Filip!), while in Limanova, Poland’s Lukasz Niemiec won ahead of the Czech Tomas Vavrinec.

The next round of the European Championship will take place in the Swiss Jura, on the occasion of the 75th edition of the St Ursanne-Les Rangiers International Hill Climb.

To consult the provisional classifications of the FIA European Hill Climb Championship, click here.