Merli on the Cusp of FIA European Hill Climb Glory in Slovenia


Christian Merli can declare Class 2 title at Ilirska Bistrica, penultimate spherical of the 2022 FIA EHC season

Manufacturing-based Class 1 automobiles carry fierce competitors for titles throughout all lessons

Historic Hill Climb Championship contenders roll out fashion and pace in Slovenia

The FIA European Hill Climb Championship is coming to the boil, with the sustained stage of success being achieved by the front-runners in each Class 1 for production-based ‘Closed Vehicles’ and Class 2 for sports-prototype ‘Open Vehicles’ making for prime total scores as the sphere enters the Ilirska Bistrica this weekend (September 3-4) in Slovenia.

Unsurprisingly, the Class 2 automobiles for thoroughbred competitors equipment have dominated the quickest instances at every of the seven rounds up to now, with Italy’s Christian Merli having claimed seven victories total in his Osella PA 30 contesting Group D/E2-SS. 

Merli’s success in essentially the most highly effective Class 2 division has seen his nearest challenger within the factors rise from the CN/E2-SE division within the type of Czech hero Petr Trnka. To this point, Trnka has been second to Merli on 4 events within the 2022 season; in Portugal, the Czech Republic, Poland and Switzerland.

In Slovenia, Merli solely has to begin within the follow periods to be topped champion. Even when he ought to he fail to participate in both this weekend’s occasion or the ultimate spherical, the Buzetski dani in Croatia on September 13-14, there may be solely the slenderest margin for Trnka to purpose for.

With three EHC Class 2 titles already to his credit score in 2018, 2019 and 2021, Merli’s run of success within the sequence has solely been interrupted by the hiatus caused by the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Final season, second place on the demanding Ilirska Bistrica course was adequate to place the title successfully past attain of his nearest rival, 11-time EHC champion, Simone Faggioli.

With Faggioli absent from this 12 months’s championship, Merli’s closest contenders in Slovenia are more likely to be Trnka and Germany’s Alexander Hin, who has completed as runner-up within the D/E2-SS division thrice to the Italian up to now in 2022.

The course at Ilirska Bistrica is among the shortest of the season, measuring simply over 5 kilometres and climbing from 425 metres above sea stage firstly to 580 metres on the end. This places a premium on each fraction of a second that may be gained or misplaced via the sequence of 14 corners, with the outright document at present standing at 1minute 59.6 seconds.

Whereas Merli could also be dominating Class 2 up to now in 2022, the battles among the many Class 1 divisions have additionally seen a number of drivers accumulating enormous scores, with all to race for total and inside every Group, numbered 1-5 so as of essentially the most modification and efficiency.

Group 1 has been dominated by Karl Schagerl along with his wild Volkswagen Golf Rallye. Three wins from the primary 4 occasions put the Austrian properly out in entrance however rescuing a second place end on the Trento-Bondone in July after engine bother has led to a pair of third place finishes behind the Ford Fiesta of Poland’s Sebastian Stec, winner of his house occasion, and the unimaginable little Fiat X1/9 of Italy’s Manuel Dondi in Italy and Switzerland.

In Group 2, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX of Croatian ace Tomislav Muhvić heads the standings, having additionally put three wins on the board early within the season. Since then Muhvić has sought to defend his lead by taking the utmost factors attainable whereas different contenders have battled to the person victory, together with Giusepe Aragona (Italy), Karol Krupa (Poland) and Nicolas Werver (Switzerland).

Group 3 sees a pitched battle between the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX of Italian Antonino Migliuolo towards the Hyundai i30 TCR of Macedonian Igor Stefanovski. The distinction between them is just their lowest rating up to now, with Stefanovski having failed to complete in Spain, whereas Migliuolo nonetheless managed to carry house 8 factors on the Ecce Homo Sternberk in Might as his lowest rating.

Whereas all three of the highest Teams in efficiency phrases have seen massive scores being constructed, the general lead in Class 1 is held by the Group 4 factors chief, Montenegro’s Vasilije Jaksic, who has powered his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX to 5 wins and two second locations up to now this season. The massive query now’s whether or not he can maintain on to take the general Class 1 title for the primary time.

In Group 5 for two-wheel-drive automobiles it’s the Renault Clio Sport of Poland’s Maciej Serafin which has set the tempo all 12 months, though one or two mechanical dramas have intervened via the center of the season, two wins in a row on the final two occasions in Poland and Switzerland have restored his dominance within the class.

Alongside the championship contenders and native heroes of the EHC, the Ilirska Bistrica will even see the automobiles and stars of the FIA Historic Hill Climb Championship in motion. With three rounds gone and two remaining, the HHC is split into 5 classes with a Nations Cup additionally uniting the pleasant rivals in a ‘Ryder Cup of motorsport’.

Marcel Benik arrives on house soil in Slovenia along with his BMW 2002 keen to shut the hole on Class 1 factors chief Harald Mössler’s Daren. With solely seven factors between them, the prospects are good of a battle all the way down to the wire.

Rear-engined automobiles have dominated Class 2 with the benefit being held by Italian Brando Motti’s sonorous Porsche 911 Carrera RS however going through stern competitors from the Škoda 130 RS of Czech racer Peter Strnad. Porsches additionally proliferate in Class 3, with Giorgio Tessore’s 911 SC holding out towards the fabulous 935 of Jean-Marie Almeras, who gained the general EHC title with this identical automotive twice in 1979-80.

Piero Lottini heads Class 4 for sports-prototype equipment on the wheel of his Osella PA9/90. With two wins from three begins the Italian is in a dominant place, having solely been bested by fellow countryman Mario Massiglia’s comparable automotive on the Trento-Bondone in July.

Within the open wheel Class 5 it’s Frenchman Jean-Marc Debeaune who holds a slender benefit over the MYXs of Slovenian František Kmet and Czech Aleš Gänsdorfer, with Kmet certain to be pushing the house floor benefit this weekend.

All of which implies that Italy holds a powerful lead within the Nations Cup over the Czech Republic, with France at present third within the standings forward of Slovakia by only a single level. With follow runs on Saturday and aggressive motion on Sunday, the penultimate spherical of this 12 months’s premier hill climb sequence in Europe will certainly present a memorable spectacle.

For occasion information and protection please go to HERE (https://ghd-ilirskabistrica.com/monitor/) 

For full standings and championship info please go to HERE (https://www.fia.com/occasions/historic-hill-climb-championship/season-2022/2022-standings) 

Dwell timing of the occasion will probably be out there HERE (https://fiahillclimb.chronomoto.hu/ehc2022/index.php)

For dwell streaming of the motion please go to HERE (https://www.automobilsport.com/fia-european-hill-climb-calendar-2022—232391.html)



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