Christian Merli wins at Rechberg in Austria
At the second round of the European Hill Climb Championship, the 49th Rechbergrennen at Tulwitz north of Graz in Austria, Christian Merli dominates both race runs and takes full points with his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM. Three official practice runs on the 4,460 km track on Saturday and two race runs on Sunday, with the two Sunday times added up for the final classification. After his victory in France the European champion conquers the top step of the podium in Austria too.
A few words before the podium ceremony
“Everything’s fine. I’m happy. The first race run was very difficult after we’d had to wait at the start for more than an hour. In the second race run we changed the setup and pushed hard, and it went very well. But it was not an easy win. Now we’ve just got time to go home, get the car ready and then leave again for the Subida al Fito in Spain on Sunday.”
The surface is wet and slippery at the first practice run on Saturday, the sky is overcast and temperatures are low. Before it is Christian Merli’s turn, umbrellas go up and it starts raining. Racing on intermediate tyres, the reigning champion skids a few times in the wet and finishes 36th. The second practice session takes place in the dry, and Merli finishes first with his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM, followed by Petr Trnka from Czechia (Norma) and Joseba Iraola Lanzagorta from Spain (Nova NP 01). In the third run, Merli takes ninth place. “Unfortunately I made a mistake at the final braking point and had to adjust.”
The first race heat
There are two race runs on the 4.460 track, which has been shortened by 490 m since the last European championship edition in 2019. In front of a large crowd Merli scores the fastest time, 0”093 ahead of Trnka and 0”097 ahead of Iraola Lanzagorta.
The second race heat
The times of the two race heats taken together will determine the final classification. Merli ups his game in the second session, leaving Trnka 2”040 behind and Iraola Lanzagorta 2”177.
The podium on accumulated times
1st Merli (Osella FA 30 Judd LRM), 2nd Trnka (Norma M20 FC) 2”133 behind, 3rd Iraola Lanzagorta (Nova NP 01) 2”274 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