Seven out of seven. Christian Merli has taken it all this weekend, racing his Osella FA30 LRM Zytek at the “Ecce Homo Short” at Sternberk north of Brno in the Czech Republic. The track, shortened to 4.800 km, saw two official practice runs on Saturday morning followed by two race heats in the afternoon. The same programme was scheduled for Sunday. Two distinct events, which both count for the Czech championship. The champion from Trentino came in first in all four practice runs and in the three race heats that took place. For the sports cars, the final race heat was suspended for safety reasons, because an engine failure on one of the touring cars had caused an oil spill on the track.
“Of course we’re happy. It was an ideal test, where we tried out a couple of adjustments in view of the first round of the European championship in Boticas in Portugal, a race we’ve never done so far. Here we improved steadily and broke the track record three times despite the cool weather. Now we’ve got a week of hard work in front of us and then the trip to Portugal and Spain for the first two events of the European championship.”
The weekend in the Czech Republic
Christian Merli in his Osella immediately dominated the two official practice runs on Saturday morning, followed by local driver Milos Benes in an identical car. In the first race heat in the afternoon Merli beat Benes’s track record in 1’48”98. Improving further in the second race heat, he scored another new record in 1’48”31, followed by the French driver Petit in his Norma M20 FC, 1”41 behind, and Benes, 1”84 behind.
The same programme was scheduled for Sunday: two practice runs in the morning and two race heats in the afternoon. The Scuderia Vimotorsport driver immediately took the lead in the first practice run, followed by local driver Trnka, 1”21 behind, and Petit, 4”92 behind (both Norma M20 FC). In the second official practice, under an overcast sky, Merli finished again first in 1’48”17, followed by the two local drivers Trnka and Benes. The sun came out for the first race heat in the early afternoon, which the Trentino driver won in 1’47”91 – another new record, his third in a row. Trnka was 0”79 behind, Petit 1”2. In the final race heat of the weekend, a touring car suffered an engine failure, spilling oil on the track. The red flag came out and the oil spill got covered in filler, a powder which is used to absorb oil. And it started to drizzle. The clerk of the course decided to stop the race.
The podium of the first round of the Czech championship
1st Merli (Osella FA 30 LRM Zytek), 2nd Petit (Norma M20 FC) 1”41 behind, 3° Benes (Osella FA30) 1”84 behind
The podium of the second round of the Czech championship
1st Merli (Osella FA30 LRM Zytek), 2nd Trnka (Norma M20 FC) 0”79 behind, 3rd Petit (Norma M20 FC) 1”2 behind
Merli in gara domenica alla Subida al Fito in Spagna, 2° roud CEM