After the splendid victory and record at Verzegnis, Christian Merli has gone on the 700 km trip to the Czech Republic to line up at the start of the 5th round of the European Hill Climb Championship, the “Ecce Homo” in Šternberk, north of Brno. On the 7.800 km track there will be two official practice heats on Saturday, then two race heats on Sunday. Team Blue City Motorsport and Scuderia Vimotorsport driver Christian Merli took the top prize here in 2016. In 2017 he finished 2nd overall and 1st among the E2-SS single-seaters. The track record is currently Simone Faggioli’s, at 2’43”37.
The year of records
However, 2018 has been a year of records for Christian. In France he was 2nd overall and established a new track record. He secured both victory and record in Austria, and a win in the second race heat plus a new track record in Portugal. And that was not all. In Spain he dominated the first race heat and set a new track record, but was forced to retire in the second session due to a broken drive shaft.
Christian describes the track
“Very fast, to be taken high geared. Only three hairpins. A prestigious race with a long tradition, and with top speeds around 260 km/h. The road is wide and starts with a very fast mixed section. Next a series of double bends, to be taken in high gears as I said, leading up to a fork in the road, where the track widens further. Some more fast half bends and a 3rd gear hairpin. Then you push straight through to the finish line. I must absolutely avoid any errors and aim to win my group to be able to drop the Spanish race.”
The Category 2 classification is currently led by Andrea Bormolini with 100 points, followed by Faggioli (93), Petit (76) and Merli (75).
The European Hill Climb Championship calendar
15 April: Col Saint Pierre (France) – winner Sébastien Petit (Norma M20 FC), 22 April: Rechbergrennen (Austria) – Christian Merli (Osella FA 30), 13 May: 39ª Rampa Internacional da Falperra (Portugal) – Simone Faggioli (Norma M20 FC), 20 May: 47ª Subida al Fito (Spain) – Simone Faggioli (Norma M20 FC), 3 June: Ecce Homo (Czech Republic), 10 June: Glasbachrennen 2018 (Germany), 24 June: Coppa Paolino Teodori (Italy), 22 July: 35ª Dobsinsky Kopec (Slovakia), 29 July: Limanowa (Poland), 19 August: Course de Côte de Saint Ursanne (Switzerland), 2 September: Bistrica (Slovenia), 16 September: Buzetski Dani (Croatia).