Christian Merli wins in Slovenia and is European champion 2023
The ninth consecutive victory and he is European champion 2023. In his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM Christian Merli has won the penultimante round of the 2023 European hill climb championship, the 29th Ilirska Bistrica hill climb in Slovenia with its two race heats on a 5.010 km track, thus securing the championship one race early. The Scuderia Vimotorsport driver has climbed the top step of the podium at all events this season: France, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and Slovenia. It is his fifth European championship title.
“The ninth consecutive win this season and the fifth European championship title. Everything went very well, even though it was a race with many interruptions. We made the difference in the technical sections. It wasn’t easy, considering the new FIA regulations which imposed an rpm limit that cost us 35 hp. That’s quite a lot in view of the competition. At the beginning of the season I decided to aim for the title, and we gave our all in every race. You couldn’t take anything for granted, and I’m very happy. Looking back I have to swallow hard.” A moment of reflection. “After the first few races I started to believe in it, and we worked very hard on our Osella. Now you have to excuse me, we have to go down to the start for the podium ceremony. My thanks go to every single person who gave me a hand.”
In the first practice heat on Saturday, Merli is first, 3”294 ahead of Trnka from the Czech Republic and 3”894 ahead of Starck from Belgium (Nova NP01-2). In the second run in the afternoon Trnka tops the timesheet, Merli is fifth. “I had caught up with Alexander Hin”, he explains. “He had spun in the chicane.”
In the first race heat Christian in his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM finishes first, 1”471 ahead of Iraola Lanzagorta from Spain (Nova NP 01) and 2”267 ahead of Trnka (Norma M20 FC). The second race heat follows, and the Scuderia Vimotorsport driver does not miss a beat. Trnka is second, 1”524 behind, and Iraola Lanzagorta is third, 1”672 behind. Merli thus secures his ninth consecutive win and the title of European champion 2023.
The podium on accumulated times
1st Merli (Osella FA 30 Judd LRM), 2nd Iraola Lanzagorta (Nova NP 01) 3”143 behind, 3rd Trnka (Norma M20 FC) 3”791 behind.
The final round of the 2023 European championship takes place in mid-September; it is the 42nd Buzetski Dani in Croatia.
Translation by Ruth Scheithauer