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Merli: From Portugal to the Rally del Brunello in Tuscany

Christian Merli was at Braga in northern Portugal for the prizegiving ceremony organised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for his victory in the 2023 European hill climb championship. It is the fifth European title for the champion from Trentino at the wheel of the Osella FA 30 Judd LRM. He dominated all ten rounds this year.

Merli takes it all
“A beautiful celebration in the Portuguese town where the Rampa de Falperra takes place. Saturday we were taken on a tour to visit the local sights. When we race here we go to the paddock, and between runs we work on the car. We don’t have time to go sightseeing. I must say that this entire weekend was a great experience. In the evening there was the grand gala with the prizegiving ceremony. On the big screens they showed videos from our races, and then we went onto the stage to hear the Italian national anthem. Really very emotional. Then we were handed a cup with our name engraved on it. But this cup remains at the FIA; it has the names of all the championship winners on it. I saw names that took me back in time, for example Scarfiotti, Merzario, Nesti, Irlando, Danti, Schetty, Zardo, Faggioli and Tschager. A highlight of a perfect season. I’ve been racing in Europe since 2016; I have met some wonderful people.”

From Portugal to Tuscany
“I’m treating myself to the Rally del Brunello this weekend. I’ll be racing the Skoda Fabia Evo of Team GF Racing, together with my codriver Massimo Furlini. In hill climb I spend three days in the paddock to race for a total of five minutes. In rally it’s the opposite, you’re in the car all the time, with a few stops. A discipline that has always fascinated me. In Tuscany we’ll be doing two special stages on Friday afternoon and the other eight on Saturday. The timed sections used to be part of the Sanremo when it counted for the world championship. The stage that will make the difference? The new Case di Badia, 17.100 km long.”

The Rally del Brunello
The rally starts in Montalcino on Friday afternoon and begins with the stages Castiglion del Bosco and Cosona. Then on Saturday morning the other eight special stages; the return to Montalcino is scheduled for 19.00. The rally measures 344 km in total, 99 km of which make up the ten special stages.

Translation by Ruth Scheithauer

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