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Christian Merli: “A chicane? No thanks”

Christian Merli had said it before the event: If the chicane was installed, he would not be racing. He had gone to Ascoli Piceno in central Italy to race his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM at the 61st Coppa Paolino Teodori, the fifth round of the Italian hill climb championship CIVM. It was one of the rare opportunities for a test in a race which did not clash with the European championship calendar. After practice on Saturday he loaded his car into his truck and went home.

A chicane? No thanks
“I’m leaving Ascoli with a heavy heart. I don’t agree at all with the installation of that chicane in the last section of the track. It’s not suitable for our cars and it distorts the race. I’d said before that in this case I’d only be doing the practice runs. In slalom you’ve got traffic cones, but this is a hill climb race. If you want to reduce the performance, there are other ways of doing that, but threading through obstacles made of tyres is dangerous. With our type of car, we risk collisions. It happened to me last year, when I hit a chicane in a similar situation and damaged the suspension. Two corners later I lost control of the car due to mechanical failure. I’m an advocate of caution, but such a slalom in the name of safety is dangerous. So, also because of the excessive scheduling clashes with the European championship, I’m leaving the Italian hill climb championship to focus on the one I consider more important. Of course there was disappointment, but I’m now concentrating on the Trento – Bondone next Sunday, the 5th round of the European championship. The practice runs? The first one went well, and we were first. In the second, where I really wanted to do well because I was going to leave everyone, the ignition went out. It then came back on and went out once more. I went up very cautiously, and we then found a problem with the switch, which we have already fixed. Just as well it happened now rather than at the Bondone.”

Ruth Scheithauer

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