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Christian Merli racing in the Prealpi Master Show rally

On Sunday Christian Merli will be racing a Skoda Fabia Evo in the 22nd edition of the Prealpi Master Show at Sernaglia della Battaglia in Treviso province in northeastern Italy, with Dennis Pozzo in charge of the pacenotes. It is the second appointment of the Raceday Rally Terra, with 43 cars in the R5 class. The 8.500 km long “Master Show” special stage will be done four times.

Overall victory in the European championship and at the FIA Hill Climb Masters
This year Christian has won the European hill climb championship for the third time. He also won the FIA Masters in Portugal and at the end of the season took home the Best Performer title of the driver with the highest number of overall wins in the 2021 season.

Returning to his greatest passion
“After winning the European championship and the FIA Masters, I’m treating myself to some fun. At the 2018 Prealpi I finished third overall, but with over forty cars racing in the R5 class it’s going to be extremely difficult this year. We’re going there to enjoy ourselves, but when the door closes and the seatbelts are tight, everything changes and you hit the accelerator. I’ll do my best as always.”

Debut with the Skoda Fabia Evo R5
“I’ve always said that rally is my passion, and it’s with great pleasure that I’m returning to the offroad. It won’t be easy because it’ll be my first time with the Evo, and we’ll be racing against teams who compete all year long. My co-driver will be Dennis Pozzo, and we won’t get to try out the car until the test before the race. With so many participants, the first special stage on Sunday morning will take place in the dark, and we’ll need extra headlights. Much attention and feeling will be required. A lot will depend on the weather. In the first run there will be icy patches, especially on the tarmac stretches. With the offroad setup and tyres, the car appears to be floating on tarmac. I think the second and third runs will be decisive for the final ranking; in the final run the track will be bumpy and dirty from all the cars. The main features of the track are 90 degree bends and straights, and it’s all flat. Let’s bear in mind that this is the only rally I’ve done all year, and our main goal is to enjoy ourselves. I haven’t done a rally for two years.”

Ruth Scheithauer

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