Christian Merli wins in France
First race of the season and first win with his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM for Vimotorsport driver Christian Merli. The reigning European champion conquered the top step of the podium at the 49th edition of the Col Saint-Pierre hill climb. The first round of the European championship, at St. Jean du Gard north of Montpellier in France, was contested over two race heats on a 5.080 km track. The European championship classification is based on accumulated times.
“We did win, but I’d hoped for a better time. We’re about four seconds away from my record, and I’m sure that’s due to the new regulations, which now limit the engine to 9500 rpm, and the ballast. The Mugen engines operate at low rpms and have 520 hp. This puts the Judds and Zyteks at a disadvantage. We’ve lost 35 hp. But what counts is that we’re going home with the victory.”
In the first practice run Christian Merli takes the lead in his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM, 2”435 ahead of Czech driver Petr Trnka (Norma M20 FC) and 5”288 ahead of Belgian driver Corentin Starck (Nova NP01). In the second practice run the reigning champion is again first, with Starck following 3”693 behind and Trnka 4”222 behind.
In the first race run on Sunday morning the Scuderia Vimotorsport driver clocks the best time, 0”841 ahead of Spanish driver Iraola Lanzagorta (Nova NP01) and 2”217 ahead of Trnka. In the second race run in the afternoon Merli improves further, leaving Iraola Lanzagorta 1”889 behind. Starck finishes third, 2”257 behind.
1st Merli (Osella FA 30 Judd LRM), 2nd Iraola Lanzagorta (Nova NP01) 2”730 behind, 3rd Trnka (Norma M20 FC) 5”161 behind.
The 2023 European Hill Climb Championship calendar
16 April: Col Saint-Pierre (France), 30 April: Rechbergrennen (Austria), 7 May: 51st Subida al Fito (Spain), 21 May: 42nd Rampa Internacional da Falperra (Portugal), 4 June: 42nd Ecce Homo Sternberk (Czech Republic), 18 June: 62nd Coppa Paolino Teodori (Italy), 2 July: 14th Hill Climb Limanowa (Poland), 20 August: 78th Course de Côte de Saint-Ursanne (Switzerland), 3 September: 29th GHD Ilirska Bistrica (Slovenia), 17 September: 42nd Buzetski Dani (Croatia).
Translation by Ruth Scheithauer