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Victory for Christian Merli in Austria

Christian Merli raced his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM at the 52nd Esthofen – St. Agatha hill climb near Linz in Austria, the final round of the Austrian and German championships. Winning both race heats, he conquered the top step of the podium. He had been invited to participate, just like at his debut in 2016. That year the Scuderia Vimotorsport driver immediately set a new outright track record in 1’03”278, and last year he saw the clocks stop at 1’00”777. He has dominated the Austrian event each time he has participated: 2016, 2017, 2021 and 2022.

Christian’s comments
“A great race, very well organised, and I enjoyed myself. In the free practice run today I didn’t want to exaggerate with the rain tyres. It had rained during the night, and it was quite likely that there was going to be rain in the second race heat. We went up with the rain tyres, but apart from the first 500 metres of forest, the track was almost dry. So there was no point in pushing it. The weather changed and it ended up not raining in the second heat. I did my best, but it was still humid in the wooded section, and the temperature was definitely lower than in the previous editions. In 2016 it was an extraordinary first experience for me in front of an estimated 25,000 people. It was my first time on that track, and we broke the record. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a crowd. The track? Very fast, with only two bends to be taken in third gear, and a mixed section to be taken in high gears.”

The Scuderia Vimotorsport driver finishes first in both official practice sessions, ahead of Alexander Hin from Germany (Osella FA 30). In the warm-up on Sunday Hin is 0”7 ahead of Merli.

The race
Merli takes the fastest time in the first race heat, ahead of Hin and the 2019 winner Patrik Zajelsnik (Norma M20 FC). The second race heat is again Merli’s, Hin follows behind. On accumulated times, Merli is the overall winner at St. Agatha.

A golden year for the driver from Trentino. He wins the European championship for the fourth time, grabbing nine victories in as many races. Overall, he climbs the top step of the podium fourteen times and sets three new records.

The overall podium
1st Merli (Osella FA 30 Judd LRM) in 2’04”723, 2nd Hin (Osella FA 30) in 2’08”441, 3rd Steiner (LobArt Honda 3000) in 2’08”618.

Translation by Ruth Scheithauer

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