Just one week and one day before the European Hillclimb Championship starts at the Rechbergrennen. Just under 250 drivers have entered of which 169 in the modern race and the other 80 in the historics. Apart of the EHC there are also points for the national championships of Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia.
In Category 2 the best 8 drivers of 2016 return this year. Simone Faggioli is the favourite in E2-SC. In E2-SS the three Osella FA30s of Christian Merli, Paride Macario and Milos Benes will be the drivers to watch. In CN Andrea Bormolini has switched to a 3-litre Osella PA20/S to have a little horsepower advantage over the opposition. Fellow Italians Stefano Crespi and Marco Capucci will be his closest rivals. E2-SH appears to be another year of Czech domination. Marek Rybnicek, Dan Michl, Vladimir Vitver and Jiri Los will go for victory with Polish driver “Dubai” as outsider.
In Category 1 champion Nikola Miljkovic has moved to the circuit racing. Shkelzen Lajci and Jaromir Maly will battle it out for Group N victory this year. In previous years the championship was always decided between Group A and Group N. Because the Lancers are not homologated in Group A anymore it will be a struggle to get full points at every race this season. Nevertheless Lukas Vojacek will contest (most?) races in a Subaru Impreza WRX. In Austria he will have a formidable rival in Mini Cooper WRC pilot Jan Liptak. Group GT has 4 entries from4 nations in 4 different cars. FIA Hillclimb Masters winner Lucio Peruggini could be the favourite here. Finally Laszlo Hernadi is the only driver in Group S2000.
The PAV Slovakia Baba returned on the calendar last year after a long absence. A large number of championships immediately included the event in their schedule. The large number of drivers from all the different countries was perhaps a bit too much to handle after such a long break. This year the Hillclimb near Pezinok was a lot smaller. Apart from the local Slovakians the only other championship present was the Historic Central European Zone (CEZ). The format also changed: no longer a full event on Saturday with another Sunday. Instead the race followed the European format of practise on Saturday and race on Sunday.
Even though they could not score any points, there were still some guest drivers. After 7 years Laszlo Szasz returned to the track where he had won in 1997 and 2002. The Hungarian immediately added a third victory to his palmares. He was closely chased by the best drivers of Slovakia. Four of the top five locals drove Skoda Fabia’s. Igor Drotar in the R5 was quickest, Veroslav Crvcek in the S2000 followed while the WRC’s of Jan Milon and Tomas Ondrej completed the top 5. Right in the middle of this group was Jozef Beres jr. The champion faced gearbox troubles in his Tatuus Renault but still managed to finish third best Slovak and fifth overall.
Osella beat Norma this weekend at the fifth round of the European Hillclimb Championship. At the Ecce Homo Hillclimb the Osella FA30 finished 1-2-3 with lead driver Christian Merli taking victory. The Norma M20 FC on the other hand did no better than 4-5-6-7 although Simone Faggioli did set fastest single time of the day in his last run, after he suffered technical problems in the first run. In the championship both are still equal in points as both Merli (Singleseaters) and Faggioli (Sportscars) won their group.
Just like in Verzegnis last week Christian Merli dominated the practise sessions in Sternberk this weekend with two fastest times. Although in contrast to Verzegnis the race did actually run as planned in great weather, we were more or less still denied a duel between Merli and Faggioli. This is because Faggioli lost 11 seconds in the first race after electrical problems hampered his Norma M20 FC. Paride Macario and Joel Volluz benefitted and moved up to second and third, while Faggioli recovered enough in the second race to claim fourth. Right behind the European Champion were the three best local drivers. Vaclav Janik advanced David Komarek and Dusan Neveril. Milos Benes crashed in the first race and had to retire. Fausto Bormolini also had an accident but at least he saw his nephew Andrea Bormolini (Osella PA21/S) win Group CN.
The silhouettes were a Czech affair with Vladimir Vitver and Dan Michl battling it out for victory. Eventually the Audi WTT-R DTM pilot secured the win in front of his Lotus Evora driving rival. Karl Schagerl mixed it up with the two locals but he was not classfied in E2-SH but rather in E1 for the Austrian Championship. The Volkswagen Golf TFSI-R pilot did claim victory in his own championship. He was even faster than best sportscar driver Ferdinand Madrian!
Nikola Miljkovic made a big step towards the 2016 European Touringcar title after another victory in Group N. After the first run just .28 seconds seperated leader Tomas Vavrinec, Miljkovic and Peter Jurena. With a great second run the gaps remained almost the same but the order switched. Miljkovic had a great run and won with Jurena in second and Vavrinec dropping to third.
In Group A Jaromir Maly had a fantastic weekend and scored a well-deserved victory in front of his home crowd. Christian Schweiger had to settle for second while Lukas Vojacek completed the podium. Austrian “Tessitore” won GT while Grzegorz Duda was the best in S2000. Although the Pole was probably more interested in his points for the CEZ Championship.
Apart from the Austrian Championship, where you could already read about the winners above, there was also a round of the Slovakia Hillclimb Championship. The Skoda Fabia’s dominated once again with Veroslav Crvcek winning, Igor Drotar second and Jan Milon third.
The International Hillclimb Cup continued this weekend with the Moris Cup Jahodna near Košice in Slovakia. The international competitors already completed all the training and race sessions on Saturday. The drivers who contested the Slovak and Polish Championships could do another complete event on Sunday.
The podium on Sunday was and all-Czech, all-Norma M20 FC affair. Vaclav Janik absolutely dominated the event and almost broke the official trackrecord. His lead on Dusan Neveril eventually measured 15 seconds. Petr Trnka completed the podium. Fourth was another Czech Norma pilot: Jiri Svoboda in the Norma M20F. In fifth came the best Polish driver which was Robert Stec in the Lola B02/50.
Best touringcar pilot was Ronnie Bratschi in sixth. With his victory the Swiss Mitsubishi Lancer pilot has a great start to his 2016 international campaign. Bratschi narrowly beats the best Slovak driver Veroslaf Cvrcek (Skoda Fabia) and the best Polish touringcar driver Waldemar Kluza (Ford Fiesta). Polish Champion “Dubai” crashed in the second race session and scores no points.
Dusan Neveril was the only non-Polish or non-Slovak driver to remain on Sunday. He had no trouble winning the second day with a large margin. The Slovak Championship was a Skoda Fabia affair. Crvcek won again and was followed by Igor Drotar, Tomas Kukucka, Tomas Ondrej and Jan Milon all competing in different versions of the Fabia. In between them were Polish drivers Waldemar Kluza in third overall and Andrzej Szepieniec in fifth overall. Because Drotar is also registered for the Polish Championship he was awarded two second place trophies.
Just one week after its season opener the International Hillclimb Cup continues this weekend. The second round of the season is the Moris Cup Jahodna in Slovakia. Just like last week in Zaluz the Slovakian and the Polish Hillclimb Championships are also present. As a results the entrylist is almost the same as last week. Notable difference is the appearance of Ronnie Bratschi, Dusan Neveril and Martin Trojek.
This weekend also marks the second round of the European Historic Hillclimb Championship. Around 20 drivers from all over Europe are entered.
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