At the 76th Course de Côte de Saint-Ursanne in northern Switzerland, west of Basel and close to the French border, Christian Merli with his Osella FA 30 Zytek LRM places second overall behind Simone Faggioli, while bronze goes to Marcel Steiner with his LobArt sports car. The Team Blue City Motorsport leader has won five of the ten European championship rounds disputed so far, Faggioli now four. With two rounds outstanding, namely in Slovenia and Croatia, it is a closely contested season. The two drivers lead the standings with 225 points each. Scuderia Vimotorsport driver Merli has always won the single-seater group and Faggioli the two-seater sports car group. Thus there might be two overall champions at the end of this 2019 season. The Osella works driver has won in France, Austria, Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic so far. He was seventh at the Trento–Bondone after his engine had suddenly switched off and on again in the final section of the track. In Slovakia, Poland and Switzerland he finished second. Faggioli has won in Italy, Slovakia, Poland and Switzerland.
“An excellent time in the second race heat, and we’re happy. The car is working, and we’re taking home the 25 points of our group. This morning it was very hot and we had to wait in the start line queue because of an accident. I did my best, but I ended up disappointed. It’s a shame. We then made some changes to the setup and things improved significantly. Congratulations to Simone, however, for his time in the first heat. He was extremely fast.”
In the first official practice heat under an overcast sky on the 5.180 km, ultrafast Swiss track, Faggioli in his Norma finishes first, followed by Merli. In the second heat, Merli reduces the gap.
In the first race heat Faggioli breaks the Trentino driver’s record clocking a formidable 1’39”306 in his reborn Norma. Merli is second overall and first among the single-seaters. In the second heat in the afternoon, while the Norma M20 FC driver finishes in 1’39”799, Merli tops the timesheet with a fantastic 1’39”539, but it is not enough for the final victory.
The podium on accumulated times
1st Faggioli (Norma M20 FC) in 3’19”105, 2nd Merli (Osella FA 30 Zytek LRM) in 3’21”095, 3rd Steiner (LobArt LA01) in 3’31”184.
The European Hill Climb Championship calendar
14 April: Col Saint Pierre (France) winner Merli, 28 April: Rechbergrennen (Austria) winner Merli, 12 May: Rampa Internacional da Falperra (Portugal) winner Merli, 19 May: Subida al Fito (Spain) winner Merli, 2 June: Ecce Homo (Czech Republic) winner Merli, 16 June: Glasbachrennen (Germany) winner Lampert, 7 July: Trento–Bondone (Italy) winner Faggioli, 21 July: Dobšinský kopec (Slovakia) winner Faggioli, 28 July: Limanowa (Poland) winner Faggioli, 18 August: Course de Côte de Saint Ursanne (Switzerland) winner Faggioli, 1 September: Bistrica (Slovenia), 15 September: Buzetski Dani (Croatia).