Christian Merli is taking to the plains in a Skoda Fabia R5. Getting to know the car for the first time at the shake down on Saturday, he will be racing at the 20th Prealpi Master Show rally near Treviso in northern Italy on Sunday. The third round of the Challenge Raceday Rally Terra has a “Master Show” special stage of 9.230 km, which the 145 entrants will be contesting four times.
Christian closes his season at the Prealpi Master Show
“I’ve always said that rallies are my passion, and it’s a great pleasure to return to the dirt roads. I promised the Scuderia Vimotorsport, who is at home in Treviso. It won’t be easy because I will be racing the Skoda Fabia R5 for the first time. My co-driver will be Anna Tomasi, and we won’t get a chance to familiarise ourselves with the R5 until at the test before the race. Since there are so many participants, the first special stage on Sunday morning will take place in the dark. We’ll need to be very alert in feeling our way. Much will depend on the weather. The surface will be partly icy in the first heat, especially in the tarmac sections. With a dirt road setup and tyres, cars seem to float on tarmac. I think the second and third heats will be crucial for the classification, and by the last heat the road will be bumpy and dirty. The track is characterised by 90 degree bends and straights, and it’s all flat. We will give our all, as always, but I have to stress that it’s our only rally this year, and we mainly want to have fun. I raced here two years ago.”
There will be two WRC and no less than 25 R5 taking the start. Christian Merli’s competition number will be the 16.
The special stage prepared by the Motoring Club organisers consists of a resurfaced 3 km section at the start, followed by a very fast dirt road which then rejoins the classic road section. The track leads through the spectacular Edilscavi quarry, and the finish line is near the municipality of Sernaglia della Battaglia.