Christian Merli forced to withdraw in Germany
In the first race run Christian Merli touches a guardrail and the adjacent tyre stack, damaging the front fender of his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM. A run with many interruptions. Merli starts in his assigned slot but is stopped by the red flag when the opponent before him crashes. He returns and gets to start again after half an hour. He begins fast, but the dirt on the track in the first bend is his undoing. This is what happened at the Int. 55th ADAC Hill Climb Race Osnabrück, where he was invited as a guest of honour and where four race runs were scheduled. The 2.030 km track is in northwestern Germany, not far from the Dutch border.
“We went back to the start and had to wait for half an hour. I then started fast when the green light came on and, on a dirty surface in the first corner, I slid against the guardrail and damaged the front fender. The race was stopped, I returned to the box and heavy rain set in. We decided to call it a day because the first run had gone on for so long and the organisers had decided to do only two runs. Then, as if to mock us, the sun came out. I’m very sorry considering all the effort which Bernd Stegmann and his team put in and because I made this mistake in what I consider the best organised event. The large crowd nevertheless demonstrated a lot of recognition. Now we go home to replace the part and to repair Alexander Hin’s Osella FA 30, which was damaged in an accident.”
The practice runs on Saturday go very well. Despite having had to lose 30 hp and add 30 kg of ballast as per FIA rules – restrictions which the German, Swiss and Austrian drivers do not have – Merli nevertheless finishes first, followed by Alexander Hin (Germany) and Robin Faustini (Switzerland). Three Osella FA 30 in the lead. The second run takes place in similar weather, and Christian improves by 2”, ahead of Faustini and Hin. In the third run, the guest of honour tops the time sheet again, while the fourth run is called off because of the arriving rain. On Sunday, the contact with the guardrail forces the champion from Trentino to withdraw.
Translation by Ruth Scheithauer