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Christian Merli on the 17.3 km of the 70th Trento – Bondone

Sunday 4 July will see the 70th edition of the Trento – Bondone. It is the 5th round of the Italian hill climb championship CIVM and also counts for the northern Italy hill climb trophy and the FIA Historic Hill Climb Championship. It is organised by the Scuderia Trentina in collaboration with Automobile Club Trento. Christian Merli will be tackling his local hill with his Osella FA30 Zytek LRM. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions the event will be closed to the public. Scrutineering and administrative checking will not take place in Piazza Dante in Trento on Friday, and access to the paddock at Piazzale Zuffo is limited to authorised persons. Official practice starts at 9.00 on Saturday, with the road being closed an hour before. On Sunday, the road closes at 8.30, and the single race heat begins at 10.00.

From Montevideo to Vason
Along the 17.300 km track, which has an altitude difference of 1350 m, there are 42 hairpins and more than 180 bends. The race is unique in Europe, and it is a tough test both for the cars and for the drivers’ physical stamina. A hill climb race where managing the tyres, the engine and the brakes demands the utmost attention. Ten minutes of maximum concentration.

Merli’s comments
“Our priority is certainly the European championship, but I absolutely couldn’t give this one a miss. It’s our local hill and everyone will be there. It’s going to be an exciting challenge, and we’ll accept it as always. The race is long, which is a big stress for our tyres and for the car. There’ll be no shortage of opponents, and we’re hoping for good weather. For now the forecast says rain on Sunday from 4pm. Let’s hope we’re done with the race by then. What to say? The Trento – Bondone is a unique race, it’s difficult, it needs experience and hard work, and you’re not allowed any mistake at the wheel. Staying concentrated all the way through is definitely not easy. It’s my local hill, but for me it’s always the hardest. We won in 2018 and have brought home our group E2-SS, the single-seaters, in the other editions. Everybody expects a lot from us, and we’ll do our best as always. However, while our technical setup helps us a lot on medium-fast tracks, it lets us down in the tight hairpins. And there are plenty of those here.”

The record
The track record is Simone Faggioli’s, who saw the clocks stop on 9’00”52 in his Norma M20 FC in 2019.

The drivers’ ranking of the CIVM after four of the eleven races scheduled
1st Faggioli (57.50 points), 2nd Merli and Cubeda (47.50), 4th Lombardi (37), 5th Degasperi (30)

The calendar of the Italian hill climb championship CIVM
23 May: Trofeo Scarfiotti, Sarnano – Sassotetto (Marche), 30 May: Verzegnis – Sella Chianzutan (Friuli Venezia Giulia), 13 June: Trofeo Vallecamonica (Lombardy), 27 June: Coppa Paolino Teodori, Ascoli Piceno (Marche), 4 July: Trento – Bondone (Trentino), 18 July: Alghero – Scala Piccada (Sardinia), 1 August: Trofeo Luigi Fagioli, Gubbio (Umbria), 8 August: Morano – Campotenese (Calabria), 22 August: Trofeo Silvio Molinaro, Luzzi – Sambucina (Calabria), 5 September: Pedavena – Croce d’Aune (Veneto), 19 September: Monte Erice (Sicily), 26 September: Coppa Nissena, Caltanissetta (Sicily).

Ruth Scheithauer

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