Osella works driver Christian Merli is travelling the 2,300 km to Braga in northern Portugal to compete in the 40th Rampa Internacional da Falperra in his Osella FA 30 Zytek LRM on Sunday. It is the 3rd round of the European Hill Climb Championship. The Team Blue City Motorsport leader from Trentino recently won the races in France and at Rechberg in Austria, breaking the track record each time.
“Last year we tried out a couple of things in the first race heat which didn’t pay off. But in the second run, where we set the current record, everything went perfectly, and we finished an overall second.”
“As usual we rely on the weather, both for us and for the public. The opponents? In Portugal you’re not allowed any mistakes. My rivals are very close, and the championship is long.”
The track record established by the Scuderia Vimotorsport driver stands at 1’47”890.
The Portuguese track in Christian’s words
“A very fast race on a 5.200 km track where you reach speeds of over 250 km/h. The start, a straight stretch and a fast left-hand bend to be taken in 4th gear. A straight and a right-hand corner in 3rd gear, then a straight going upward, followed by a series of very fast double bends. Braking hard for a left-hand hairpin, then a very fast mixed section and a wide chicane. Next the stretch where you reach maximum speed and a brow with a downhill stretch in 6th gear. A 3rd gear right-hand bend, a left-hand hairpin, a straight, and the finish line. No time to breathe. The slightest error and you’ve lost the race.”
A week’s break and then on to Spain
“It’s true, we won’t be going home, we’ll travel around 500 km to participate in the 4th round of the European championship, the 48th Subida al Fito north of Oviedo.”
The European Hill Climb Championship calendar
14 April: Col Saint Pierre (France), 28 April: Rechbergrennen (Austria), 12 May: Rampa Internacional da Falperra (Portugal), 19 May: Subida al Fito (Spain), 2 June: Ecce Homo (Czech Republic), 16 June: Glasbachrennen (Germany), 7 July: Trento – Bondone (Italy), 21 July: Dobsinsky Kopec (Slovakia ), 28 July: Limanowa (Poland), 18 August: Course de Côte de Saint Ursanne (Switzerland), 1 September: Bistrica (Slovenia), 15 September: Buzetski Dani (Croatia).