The 19th edition of the Subida Internacional Ubrique-Benaocaz has all the significant ingredients to be a great success. The Andalusian race, with seventy-two vehicles to take part in the hill-climb, has brought together a large group of outstanding and experienced Spanish drivers and some of the most spectacular racing cars on the European stage.
Now, the day has come. All is set for the 19th edition of the Subida Internacional Ubrique-Benaocaz taking place next weekend in the South of Spain. Once again, as usual, the race counts towards the FIA International Hill Climb Cup, the Spanish Hill Climb Championship and the Andalusian championship.
The European Hillclimb Championship continues this weekend with one of the most popular events of its schedule. The Rechbergrennen in Austria can boast an entry of no less than 270 cars. The event benefits of course from its central location in Europe, but also by the fact that no less than 9 different championships (including historics) will have a round here.
While three weeks ago, just before the French EHC round, we would be surprised if Simone Faggioli could debut his Norma M20 FC with a strong result. For this weekend we would be surprised if he didn’t actually win the race. His rivals in the tow-seater class appear to be fellow Italians Christian Merli (Osella PA2000 EVO), Omar Magliona (Osella PA21/S) and Maurizio Pitorri (Osella PA30).
A lot of Czech drivers visit this weekend as the Rechbergrennen counts towards their national championship. Otakar Kramsky (Reynard K14), Vaclav Janik (Lola B02/50), Dusan Neveril (Norma M20 FC) and Milos Benes (Osella FA30) are the most well-known. Also Fausto Bormolini will have his first event of the season, returning with his Reynard F3000. His nephew Andrea is also entered with an Osella PA21 Junior.
Great attention will also be paid to the Silhouettes. Local heroes Herbert Pregartner (Porsche 911 GT2 RSR) and Erich Edlinger (BMW 320 IRL EVO) will take on 10 Czech drivers led by Vladimir Vitver (Audi WTTR) and Dan Michl (Lotus Evora).
Group A will be hotly contested this weekend as full points are given out. Christian Schweiger is hoping for a popular home victory against Lukas Vojacek and Jaromir Maly.
In Group N all the drivers have already competed this race at least once. Igor Stefanovski made his first big impression on the international scene here, and he will be hoping to repeat that. Tomislav Muhvic on the other hand already used his drop score in France and needs every point he can get.
The bulk of the entry at the Rechbergrennen will be the E1 category. The Austrians are led by Felix Pailer (Lancia Delta Integrale) and Rupert Schwaiger (Porsche 911). The international challengers include Bulgarian Nikolay Zlatkov (Audi S1 Quattro) and Slovakians Jozef Beres (Subaru Impreza WRC), Igor Drotar and Michael Kovalcik (both Skoda Fabia WRC).
The International Hillclimb Cup starts this weekend at the Subida a Ubrique – Benaocaz. At least one driver will make the journey to southern Spain: Laszlo Hernadi from Hungary will compete in his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII. The Andalucian Hillclimb is also one of the highlights of the Spanish Hillclimb Championship. Popular with drivers all over the country, the ful Spanish elite is expected to be present in Ubrique.
Last year’s winner Andrés Vilariño won the first round of the Spanish Championship in Estepona three weeks ago. This weekend he is once again favourite for the overall victory. In Category 2 José Antonio Lopez-Fombona (Audi A4 DTM) made a false start in Estepona. Hopefully this weekend we will truely see how Lopez-Fombona measures up to his new opponents in Category II. In Category III José Antonio Aznar (Porsche 997 GT3) is still on homeground and absolute favourite for the win. His rivals will be Raul Borreguero (Mosler MT900R), Mike Anderson (Ginetta G50 GT4) and Pedro Morera (Subaru Impreza WRC)
The 2014 Portuguese Hillclimb Championship starts this weekend near Guimarães with the Rampa da Penha. It will be the first of two visits to this particular venue, as the Portuguese competitors will return at the end of the year.
After the last minute cancellation of the Iglesias – San Angelo three weeks ago, the Italian Hillclimb Championship will now really start this weekend. This weekend the Cronoscalata Monte Eriche will have the honour of opening the season. The hillclimb, located on the western tip of Sicily near Trapani, is one of the most beautiful in all of Europe.
That an Osella PA2000 takes the victory this Sunday seems a safe bet with drivers like Christian Merli, Domenico Scola jr. and Domenico Cubeda competing in this car. Although the older Osella FA30 is not to be ruled out. It is reported that Francesco Leogrande will drive one. We will have to wait and see what other talented drivers like Michele Fattorini and Omar Magliona will do this year.
The regional competitors in Belgium can get ready for their third race of the season. This time the Liège province will be visited for the Course de Côte de Sy. It is a narrow and technical track were the touringcars will have as much chance for overall victory as the prototypes. The touringcar winner of the last few years Yanick Bodson will not be present this time as he is in Austria for the Rechbergrennen. Philippe Dewulf will be more than happy to take over his crown. In Division 4 we will hopefully see another great threeway battle between Frédéric Souris (Dallara F399), Jacques Marchal (Van Diemen FX) and Bruno Collard (BRC CM05 EVO). There will also be more Kart-Cross present, since they have been mostly absent the first two events this year.
For the third race of the French Hillclimb Championship the competitors have to travel to the far north. The Course de Côte d’Abreschviller – Saint Quirin is located in the north eastern point of France. Close to Luxembourg, the hillclimb also counts for that nation’s championship. There will also be guest drivers from all other neighbouring countries.
Nicolas Schatz won the race last year with a new trackrecord. The Norma M20FC driver will again be the favourite this year, as he has already scored maximum points in the first two events this season. His rival Sébastien Petit was second last year, but with the Reynard 95D. This time he will use his Norma M20 FC. The last ten years the event has always been won by French drivers. Perhaps this year will be different as both Guy Demuth (Osella FA30) and Eric Berguerand (Lola FA99) have entered.
The Norwegian Hillclimb Championship will begin this weekend with the Vikersundbakken. Already over 130 drivers have entered for this weekend. All the Norwegian elite drivers will assemble already Friday afternoon at Vikersund. The precise location is the ski-flying ramp were the worldrecord was set in 2011. The cars won’t reach the 246 metres that the skiers do, but a jump will be constructed on the track.
Current champion Anders Grøndahl is again entered this weekend, but his car is still a mystery. He will receive fierce competition from Morten Bermingrud, who has entered in the powerful Rallycross Citroën C4. The Champions in class 4 for Rallycars, Cato Brynildsen (BMW M3) and class 3 for Supernationals +2000, Stian Haugan (Citroën Xsara RWD) will be present again this weekend. The champions in Class 1 & 2 (Trond Martinsen & Lars Oyvind Enerberg) have yet to enter.
The Course de Côte du Crochu de Veigné is the first Hillclimb of the year in the Centre region. The winner of last year Julien Bost is ready for another victory in Veigné. It would be his fourth in five years. Two weeks ago he already demonstrated his excellent form in Bournezeau were he lost the overall victory by just one hundreth of a second. Winner then was Serge Thomas, who is also from the Centre region, but Thomas has never driven at Crochu before.
The Maverick Rescue Euro Cup had its second event of 2014 this weekend with the Slovácký kopec – Memorial Stanislava Firtla. And just like last year, David Komarek was again a class of his own at the hillclimb near Násedlovice. The Norma M20 FC EVO driver was more than 8 seconds faster than the next driver, Michal Novicky (Reynard 032 F3). As Komarek most probably does not compete the full Maverick Rescue Euro Cup, Novicky did a good job in the title race. His nearest rival Ferdinand Madrian from Austria could steer his Norma M20F only to third and fifth. Best touringcar driver with two fourth places overall was Marek Rybnicek in the specially developed Mitsubishi Lancer EVO. Karel Stehlik had a small accident on the first day. His Mitsubishi Eclipse could not continue the event.
Click here to see the full results.