Christian Merli takes victory in Switzerland
Scuderia Vimotorsport driver Christian Merli has won the 78th Course de Côte de Saint-Ursanne in Switzerland, near the French border west of Basel. It was the eighth of ten European Hill Climb Championship rounds. The champion from Trentino behind the wheel of the Osella FA 30 Judd LRM has dominated all the European championship events so far, in France, Austria, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and Switzerland, and is leading the standings with 200 points.
“I’m definitely happy, but it was very hard work. We gave 110 per cent because we knew we were competing with opponents who don’t have the engine restrictions which the new FIA regulations impose on us. They translate into a 30 kg ballast and 35 hp less. The difference is palpable and we were three seconds slower on this track than last year. I’d hoped to do better. However, it’s the eighth victory in eight European championship rounds. Now we’ll be racing in Slovenia in September followed by the final race in Croatia.”
The weekend in Switzerland
In the first practice run on the 5.180 km track on Saturday, the driver from Trentino immediately takes the lead, 3”270 ahead of Trnka on his Norma M20 FC and 6”968 ahead of Alexander Hin on the Osella FA 30 taken care of by Team Merli. In the second run Merli is again first, followed by Trnka and by Iraola Lanzagorta on the Nova NP 01. Merli also tops the timesheet in the third run.
The first race run is held on a hot and sunny Sunday morning. Merli takes the fastest time in 1’42”631, with Iraola Lanzagorta from Spain 1”523 behind and Hin 3”974 behind. In the European championship the times of the two race runs are added up for the final classification. In the second race run in the afternoon it is again the champion from Trentino who dominates. He is 1”943 ahead of Iraola Lanzagorta and 3”197 ahead of Starck from Belgium (Nova NP 01-2).
On accumulated times, the Osella driver conquers the top step of the podium in Switzerland too.
1st Merli (Osella FA 30 Judd LRM), 2nd Iraola Lanzagorta (Nova NP01) 3”466 behind, 3rd Starck (Nova NP 01-2) 7”219 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