Christian Merli as a guest of honour in Austria
On Sunday Christian Merli will be racing his Osella FA 30 Judd LRM at the 53rd Esthofen – St. Agatha hill climb near Linz in Austria, the penultimate round of the Austrian and German championships. He has been invited to participate, just like at his debut in 2016 and in subsequent years. The Scuderia Vimotorsport driver immediately set a new outright track record in 1’03”278, and in 2021 he saw the clocks stop at 1’00”777. He has dominated the Austrian event in 2016, 2017, 2021 and 2022.
“In 2016 it was an extraordinary experience for me,” says Christian Merli, “in front of an estimated 25,000 people. It was my first time on that track, and we broke the record. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a crowd. We then won in 2017, 2021 and 2022. Two practice runs on Saturday, and then on Sunday another practice run and two race runs. The track is 3.210 km long. It will definitely be harder to take the win than in the past, because the Swiss and German drivers are not subject to the FIA engine restrictions as we are.
Their engines are allowed to reach more than 11,000 rpm, and the supercharged engines are flangeless. This amounts to around 80–90 hp more. The track? Very fast, with only two bends to be taken in third gear, and a mixed section to be taken in high gears.”
Translation by Ruth Scheithauer