HILL CLIMB - Faggioli Returns Triumphant | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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HILL CLIMB - Faggioli Returns Triumphant


After missing the last four rounds, Simone Faggioli marked his return to business with a fine victory in the 9th event of the FIA European Hill Climb Championship, at St Ursanne in Switzerland.

The Swiss Hill Climb St Ursanne-Les Rangiers was celebrating its 75th edition this year. Considered as the “great leveller” of the European Championship, each year the event attracts its share of occasional participants, coming from all over Europe to tackle the thrilling and now legendary difficulties of the race, such as the Grippons, taken at (very) high speed, or the final sequence of turns comprising the Petit Susten. The organisers also make a point of improving the course each year; for 2018, these upgrades consisted in around one kilometre of new asphalt and the installation of additional safety guardrails.

Absent from the early summer rounds on account of his trip to Pikes Peak, and then from the Slovakian and Polish events in July because of mechanical problems, ten times European Champion Simone Faggioli (Norma M20FC Zytek) made a triumphant comeback in Switzerland, setting the best time in each of the two climbs and thus claiming the overall victory. This return in fine form saw him climb from 6th to 4th place in the provisional classification of the European Championship, a classification still headed by Christian Merli (Osella FA30 Zytek), who came second at St Ursanne but was the winner in E2-SS; he even increased his Championship lead over Andrea Bormolini (Osella PA20), beaten in Group CN by fellow Italian Francesco Turatello (Osella Honda). If Merli manages to win the Slovenian event at Ilirska Bistrica on 2 September, he will be crowned European Champion even before the final curtain, which will fall in Croatia in mid-September.

Behind the unbeatable Faggioli and Merli, Switzerland’s Marcel Steiner claimed third place with his original LobArt-Mugen, ahead of Fausto Bormolini’s Reynard K02 which proved to be particularly nifty in the Swiss Jura. The winner in E2-SH, Czech Vladimir Vitver (Audi TT-R DTM) had to content himself with half the number of points customarily awarded to the Group winners, as the category fielded only two starters on the Sunday following the retirement of Switzerland’s Reto Meisel, whose Judd-engined Mercedes SLK 340, although very fast (it was the only closed car to set a time under two minutes in practice), remains highly temperamental.

As a result, the best times for the closed cars in the race were set by the hyperactive Mitsubishi Lancer of Switzerland’s Ronnie Bratschi, not eligible to score points in the European Championship, and the McLaren MP4 12C of Frenchman Pierre Courroye who, yet again, was the very clear winner in GT.

No Group N cars took the start of the Swiss classic, while the win in Group A once again went to the Subaru Impreza WRX of Czech Lukas Vojacek over the Honda Civics of Italy’s Luca Zuurbier and Tonino Cossu.


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