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Victory and record for Christian Merli in Switzerland

Christian Merli dominates the Swiss weekend, the 77th Course de Côte de Saint-Ursanne, at the wheel of his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM. The seventh of nine rounds of the European Hill Climb Championship is held on a very fast 5.180 km track west of Basel and near the French border. The Scuderia Vimotorsport driver also establishes a new track record in 1’39”201. He has won all the European championship events so far: France, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and Switzerland. He is leading the standings with 175 points, followed by Trnka from the Czech Republic (138).

The interview
“It went very well and I’m extremely happy. I didn’t think I’d break the record, because the track was humid on Saturday and it was difficult to get the setup right. Today in the first race run in the dry everything went well, and in the second run I set the new record. I didn’t think I would be able to, and I’m really very happy. The championship? It’s still open. There are two races to go, with 50 points still at stake.”

A look back at the track
“The start in the middle of the little town was followed by a very challenging double bend. Then it got flatter and there were a couple of straights where you reach 250 km/h. Next a left-hand bend to be taken almost at full throttle. Quite a challenging mixed section in the forest, and shortly before the finish line a tricky left-hander which tightened up, followed by a right-hand hairpin, a straight stretch of about 100 m, and a left-hand hairpin. Finally another right-hand hairpin before you crossed the finish line. The track was 5.180 km long, and there were two practice heats and two race heats.”

The first practice run on Saturday on a wet 5.180 km track sees Christian Merli and his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM finish first, followed by Iraola Lanzagorta (Nova NP01) from Spain and Hin (Osella FA 30) from Germany. In the second official practice run on the very fast Swiss track there are delays because of several incidents on the slippery surface in the wooded section. The Scuderia Vimotorsport driver shaves 10” off his time and tops the timesheet again, with Trnka (Norma M20 FC) from the Czech Republic 7”842 and Hin 10”012 behind, respectively.

The race
In the first race heat the champion from Trentino clocks again the fastest time in 1’40”538, followed by the Czech Trnka and the Spaniard Iraola Lanzagorta. In the second run in the afternoon he secures the win and the track record in 1’39”201. Trnka is second, and Hin third.

The overall podium
1st Merli (Osella FA 30 Judd LRM), 2nd Trnka (Norma M20 FC) 8”103 behind, 3rd Hin (Osella FA 30) 12”646 behind.

The European Hill Climb Championship calendar
21 August: 77th Course de Côte de Saint Ursanne (Switzerland), 4 September: 28th GHD Ilirska Bistrica (Slovenia), 18 September: 41st Buzetski Dani (Croatia).

Translation by Ruth Scheithauer

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