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Victory and record for Christian Merli in Austria

Christian Merli in his Osella FA 30 Zytek LRM clearly dominates the Esthofen – St. Agatha hill climb near Linz in Austria, which counts for the Austrian and German championships. Christian is the guest of honour at this event held on a very fast track, 3.210 km long, with two bends to be taken in third gear and a mixed section to be taken in high gears.

In the first official practice session the Scuderia Vimotorsport driver immediately takes the lead in 1’03”881, with the German Alexander Hin 1”438 behind and the Austrian Christoph Lampert 7”059 behind, each in an Osella PA 30. The second practice run sees the top of the timesheet identical, the European champion shaving a second off his time. On Sunday, in the third practice run Merli again clocks the best time in 1’02”274, only 0”145 from his 2017 track record. In the first race heat the weather is cool and sunny. The Osella works driver breaks his own record, seeing the clocks stop at 1’00”777, with an average speed of 189.540 km/h. He is 2”271 ahead of Hin and 6”006 ahead of the Austrian Bernhard Gradischnig (Norma M20 FC). In the second race heat the champion from Trentino clearly finishes fastest again, followed by Hin and Gradischnig.

Christian’s comments
“Everything went well, and it was a great event. We got an overwhelming welcome, and it was the first event of the year that was open to a large crowd, who were very disciplined. This really raises our hope for the future. We did our best and we set a new record on a sunny weekend. It was all great fun and I hope to have entertained the fans who were there.”

“A fantastic year, since we were up against a top-level driver and team. You couldn’t ask for more. The third European title in five seasons. Best Performer, that is to say the highest number of top results this season despite the issues we had. We’ve also brought home the victory in the single-seater group E2-SS. I’m really very happy. I’d like to thank my technical partners: Osella, LRM for the preparation of the engine, Avon for the tyres and the Scuderia Vimotorsport, who has always been close to me on this journey. Not to forget my partner Cinzia, my family, my sponsors, my mechanics Giuliano and Claudio, my friends and my fans.”

The podium on accumulated times
1st Merli (Osella FA 30 Zytek LRM) 2’02”549, 2nd Hin (Osella PA 30) 4”214 behind, 3rd Gradischnig (Norma M20 FC) 12”332 behind.

Ruth Scheithauer

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