On Sunday the new European champion Christian Merli will be lining up at the 60th edition of the Monte Erice hill climb in Sicily, the tenth of twelve rounds of the Italian hill climb championship CIVM 2018. The Team Blue City Motorsport leader at the wheel of the Osella FA 30 Zytek LRM is returning to the CIVM, where he dominated Race 1 at Nevegal as well as the races at Verzegnis, Ascoli, Trento – Bondone and Sarnano, breaking three track records at five events. The three remaining races – Erice, Coppa Nissena and Luzzi – each have a coefficient of 1.5. This means that there are 30 points at stake each weekend instead of the usual 20. Although the Scuderia Vimotorsport driver missed the last two rounds of the Italian championship, he could – speaking strictly in the conditional – aim for the Italian season title. The current leader of the standings is Magliona (Norma M20 FC) with 101.50 points, followed by Merli (90), Cubeda with another Osella FA 30 (88.50) and Fattorini (68).
Christian participating in the final three CIVM races
“It will be another debut with the FA 30 at Erice. Last time I raced here, in 2015, I was having problems with my car, which had just been assembled and had a different engine. It’s going to be a new race. We are starting from scratch. The title? It won’t be easy, and it will all depend on the opponents. Mathematically, the possibility is still there, but I’m sure that Magliona, Cubeda, Conticelli, Fattorini and Scola, the current record holder in 2’52”583, will be pushing as hard as they can. The track? Slippery, technical, with many hairpin bends, narrow, and with low walls on the sides. Two race heats of 5.730 km each.”
The slalom debut in Val di Sole last Sunday
“It was great fun. Two manches with my FA 30 to sort out a few details in preparation for Sicily, and then I changed to the Osella 1000 to do my first slalom. I finished a close second behind the champion Zandonà. You need a lot of experience to get past the obstacles without touching them. Excellent organisation by the Scuderia Adige Sport led by Luca Manera, the Dimaro Folgarida holiday consortium, led by president Marco Katzemberger, the Val di Sole tourist board, the Dimaro Folgarida local authorities and the Folgarida Marilleva funicular.”
The calendar of the 2018 Italian hill climb championship CIVM
6 May: Alpe del Nevegal (Belluno province) – winner Omar Magliona (Norma M20 FC), 27 May: Verzegnis – Sella Chianzutan (Friuli Venezia Giulia region) – winner Christian Merli, 10 June: Coppa Selva di Fasano (Apulia) – Magliona, 24 June: Coppa Paolino Teodori (Marche) – winner Christian Merli, 1 July: Trento – Bondone (Trentino) – winner Christian Merli, 22 July: Salita Morano Campotenese (Calabria) – Domenico Cubeda (Osella FA 30), 5 Aug: Trofeo Scarfiotti (Marche) – winner Christian Merli, 19 Aug: Trofeo Luigi Fagioli (Umbria) – Magliona, 2 Sept: Pedavena – Croce d’Aune (Veneto) – Magliona, 16 Sept: Monte Erice (Sicily), 23 Sept: Coppa Nissena (Sicily), 7 Oct: Luzzi Sambucina (Calabria).