In the 3rd round of the European Hill Climb Championship in Portugal, Simone Faggioli wins the first race heat, 1”753 ahead of Team Blue City Motorsport leader Christian Merli. In the second run Merli pulls out all stops and emerges victorious, establishing a new track record in 1’47”890. But it is not enough. On accumulated times, the 39th Rampa Internacional da Falperra goes to Faggioli, with the Osella FA 30 champion only 0”472 behind.
Mere tenths: Christian’s comments
“What can I say? That’s what a race is like. My compliments to Faggioli. Obviously I am more than happy with the second run, where I clocked the best time and broke the track record. In the first session I lost two seconds due to lack of grip in the bend, then I made up some of it in the final stretch. That’s how it goes. But we scored full points for the victory in Group E2-SS. I’m happy for Gino Pedrotti. He put in a great performance at his debut on this track. Now we will be travelling 500 km to northern Spain to race in the 4th round of the European championship, the 46th Subida al Fito above Oviedo, next Sunday.”
On Saturday, three official practice runs on an extremely fast, 5.200 km long track. Faggioli in the Norma M20 FC dominates the first session in 2’01”775, followed by Merli in the Osella FA 30, racing for the Scuderia Vimotorsport, 6”306 behind. Pedrotti, behind the wheel of his Formula Renault in his first outing on this track, finishes 13th overall and 1st among the E2-SS 2000. In the second practice run, Faggioli is still ahead in 1’57”379, but despite some gearbox issues Merli reduces the gap and finishes second, 2”956 behind. Pedrotti is edged out to 16th place but continues to lead among the 2 litre single-seaters. In the third and final official practice heat, Christian takes command and tops the timesheet in 1’52”193, which is 1”561 ahead of Faggioli and 3”768 of Petit. Pedrotti is again first among the E2-SS 2000.
On Sunday, in the free practice session before the race, Christian sees the clocks stop on 1’51”091, leaving Faggioli trailing by 1”637.
Now follows the first race heat, in which Faggioli finishes 1”753 ahead of Merli. Pedrotti is 15th overall and first among the 2000 cc single-seaters. In the second race heat, Christian drives as only he knows how and comes out on top in 1’47”890, which is the new track record. Faggioli is 1”281 behind. However, Merli’s supreme performance does not yield him the overall victory. When the times are added together, the final win falls to Faggioli, with the Trentino champion second, a mere 0”472 behind.
1st Faggioli (Norma M20 FC), 2nd Merli (Osella FA 30) 0”472 behind, 3rd Petit (Norma M20 FC) 10”008 behind.
The European Hill Climb Championship calendar
15 April: Col Saint Pierre (France) – winner Sébastien Petit (Norma M20 FC), 22 April: Rechbergrennen (Austria) – winner Christian Merli (Osella FA 30), 13 May: 39ª Rampa Internacional da Falperra (Portugal) – winner Simone Faggioli (Norma M20 FC), 20 May: 47ª Subida al Fito (Spain), 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)