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Rookie Christian Merli wins the Unlimited category at Pikes Peak

Winner of the Unlimited category and second overall at his Pikes Peak debut. Christian Merli's American dream has concluded magnificently. The multiple European champion takes the start at 17.33 hours central European time to tackle the 102nd edition of the Pikes Peak Int. Hill Climb in Colorado. The race starts at an altitude of 2862 metres and, after 19.900 km, finishes at 4300 metres. There are 156 corners and hairpin bends and the altitude difference is 1439 metres. In sunny weather and on slicks, Merli stops the clock at 9'04"454 at the wheel of the 380 hp Wolf Aurobay GB 08 2.0 Hp and comes first in the Unlimited category. The only one faster, by just eleven seconds, is the Frenchman Romain Dumas, in his ninth appearance in Colorado and competing in a Ford F-150 Lightning SuperTruck 4x4 with 1600 kg and an electric engine capable of 1400 hp.

A magical experience for Christian
"It was absolutely fascinating, with extraordinary views. Today we did the track in its entirety for the first time. At the beginning it was very slippery and I’m very happy to have made it to the finish line. To be honest I’d hoped to do better even though it was my first time both on the track and with the 380 hp Wolf. In this month of testing we always did the track in three separate sections and only on race day did we run it in one go. I am very moved. I've been here for a month and I take first place in the Unlimited category and second overall on my debut in what is a crazy race. I was afraid of making a mistake and I tried to keep everything under control. I am really happy. It was not easy, I’m grateful to the fans for their warm-hearted support and I’m proud to have been involved with Wolf Racing Cars and Aurobay for this amazing race. I had an excellent team of professionals at my side."

The race
Sunny weather, warm at the start and cold at the finish at 4300 metres. Spectators with duvets and blankets. Huge aerodynamic devices on all the cars. Thin air at the top and patches of snow in the less sunny parts. Beautiful shots from the helicopter and fixed cameras. After all, this is the “Race to the Clouds”.

The podium
1st Romain Dumas (Ford F-150 Lightning SuperTruck, Open category) 8’53”553, 2nd Christian Merli (Wolf Aurobay GB 08 2.0 HP, Unlimited category) 9’04”454, 3rd Dani Sordo (Hyundai Ioniq 5, Exhibition category) 9’30”852

Translation by Ruth Scheithauer

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