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Hard-earned victory for Christian Merli at Falperra in Portugal

Scuderia Vimotorsport driver Christian Merli wins for the fourth time and dominates also in Portugal, despite a spin followed by an impact in the second race run, a few metres before the finish. The champion from Trentino was racing his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM, bearing competition number 2, in the 4th round of the European Hill Climb Championship, the 42nd Rampa Internacional da Falperra near Braga in northern Portugal. So far the 2022 champion has won in France, Austria, Spain and Portugal this year.

Christian, a victory with suspense
“It was a difficult day. In the second race run, a few metres from the finish, I went all out only to spin on a dirty surface, damaging the front of the car. It wouldn’t have been possible to repair it, and my heartfelt thanks go to Sébastien Petit and his team, who let us borrow their extractor and front so we could take the start in the third run. It was a hard-earned victory. At the same time my thoughts are with the flood victims in Emilia-Romagna.”

In the first practice run on Saturday, Merli finishes first, 1”472 ahead of Petr Trnka from Czechia (Norma M20 FC) and 6”512 ahead of Joseba Iraola Lanzagorta from Spain (Nova NP01). In the second practice run the ranking of the first three is identical. In the third run on the 5.200 km track the champion from Trentino sees the clocks stop at 1’49”428, followed by Trnka and Iraola Lanzagorta.

Three runs, of which the best two are retained. In the first session, Christian Merli sets the fastest time with his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM, followed by Trnka and by Corentin Starck from Belgium (Nova NP01), then Iraola Lanzagorta and Hin from Germany. In the second run, Trnka wins with Iraola Lanzagorta on his tails. Merli spins ten metres before the finish line, touches the guardrail and the car goes out. He then goes into reverse gear and ends up finishing 13th. Between two race runs he fixes his car as best he can, and then returns to the top of the timesheet in the final run. With the two best times determining the final classification, Merli wins the fourth round of the European championship.

The podium based on the two best times
1st Merli (Osella FA 30 Judd LRM), 2nd Trnka (Norma M20 FC) 1”410 behind, 3rd Iraola Lanzagorta (Nova NP 01) 3”188 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

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