This weekend the International Hillclimb Cup (IHCC) visited Slovenia for the GHD Lučine. The weather was perfect for hillclimb racing and the trackrecord was broken multiple times.
The first to go under the trackrecord was Vaclav Janik. But before the first race was over Federico Liber had already retrieved his record with a faster time. In the second run Janik took back the lead and in the third run he improved his time still a little bit more. Liber on the other hand could not hold onto his speed from the first run so the Italian had to yield victory to Janik. With this victory Janik is now secure of the International Hillclimb Cup Category II. His closest rival and teammate Petr Trnka finished third in Lucine which saw him secure second place in points.
In Category III Ronnie Bratschi was the only driver to seriously compete in the IHCC. The Swiss was present in Lucine but retired in the first race run. Nevertheless he still secured the Category III title.
Only in Category I is the points race still open. Although Laszlo Hernadi has competed in almost all the events, it is not enough to clinch the title. As he competes in S2000 the Hungarian only scores half points at each event. He added another nine points to his total in Lucine but still lost his championship lead. For Gabriella Pedroni it was only her third event of the season. But Group A victory gave the full 25 points which gives her a 7,5 point lead over Hernadi.
Stefano Di Fulvio scored a sensational victory at the GHD Gorjanci this weekend. Start position was crucial as the rain kept increasing during the day. Because the historic drivers started before the modern cars they had the best conditions. In the dry Di Fulvio was around 8 seconds slower than the best modern driver but they lost way more than that in the rain. As a result the Osella PA9/90 pilot could claim overall victory, besides of course the win in the European Historic Hillclimb Championship.
Patrik Zajelsnik was fastest modern driver in the dry. The Norma M20F pilot almost broke the trackrecord even though a new chicane made the track slower than in previous years. However when the rain started falling he dropped back to eighth. International Hillclimb Cup points leader Vaclav Janik now moved forward and took home the modern victory. Beating Di Fulvio however was not possible so Janik had to be satisfied with second overall. Last year’s winner Federico Liber secured the final podium spot. Fourth was for best touringcar driver Karl Schagerl who also increases his lead in the Austrian Hillclimb Championship. Ronnie Bratschi was second best touringcardriver so the Swiss remains in the lead of Category E1 in the International Hillclimb Cup.
In the Slovenia Hillclimb Championship favourite Milan Bubnic started a lot later than his rivals Peter Marc and Ales Prek. As a results Bubnic was only third behind the two others.
The International Hillclimb Cup moves to Slovenia this weekend for the GHD Gorjanci. Besides the national championship the race also counts towards the European Historic Hillclimb Championship and the Austrian Hillclimb Championship. Just over 100 drivers are entered. Federico Liber won here in 2013 and 2015 and he is again the favourite this time around.
The Italian Hillclimb Championship is seeing massive entrylists at all rounds so far. At Fasano two weeks ago there were 270 entries, this weekend in Verzegnis there were even more with 282 drivers at the start. With so many drivers the timing has to be perfect to allow everyone their 2 runs. During Saturday practise in nice weather this worked wonderful and everybody managed 2 sessions. But rain was forecast for Sunday and it turned out that was just one of the problems descending on the 47th Verzegnis – Sella Chianzutan…
Right before the start of the first race it was discovered that the radio for the safety marshals stopped working. This took a long time to repair and close to mid-day only a handful of cars had made it to the top. When everything finally worked a driver crashed and destroyed a large part of the guardrail. This prompted more repairs and longer delays. When Ronnie Bratschi started it was already past 14:00 and the first drops of rain were starting to fall. The Swiss did manage to set fastest time up until that point, but everyone who came afterwards had to battle ever increasing rain. Although not that many drivers were left as only the GT’s managed to complete the run. The Silhouettes were stopped after Fulvio Giuliani crashed hard and after that it was decided to cancel the rest of the meeting. So no results for the singleseaters and sportscars which complicates the various championship standings.
As far as the racing goes Ronnie Bratschi was declared the winner as already mentioned. After a long night of repairs Karl Schagerl managed second place. The Austrian crashed his Volkswagen Golf Rallye TFSI-R in practise but managed to repair it in time for the first race. As a reward he also wins the Austrian Championship. Marco Iacoangeli was best Italian in third as he was just a little faster than Marco Sbrollini who finished fourth. The Slovenia Hillclimb Championship was also present in Verzegnis and here Milan Bubnic was the best driver.
The Croatian Hillclimb Championship opened this weekend with the Nagrada Stubičke Toplice near Zagreb. It was also the first round of the Slovenia Hillclimb Championship. The battle for victory proved to be a clash of nations as the Hungarian-Croat Istvan Kavecz and Slovenian Milan Bubnic were way better then all the other competitors. Both drivers were about 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Trackconditions improved slightly during the day as almost everyone could improve their times by about 10 seconds. Except Istvan Kavecz that is and the BMW E90 driver almost saw his 5 second lead over Bubnic disappear. He did held out though and was crowned the winner. The battle for third was also a Croat-Slovene duel. Here Croatia also got the better of their northwestern neighbours. Bojan Juranic climbed the final podium step relegating Matej Grudnik, who debuted his new Renaut Clio IV, to fourth.
The calendar for the Slovenia Hillclimb Championship was finally released today. Of course as all the events are on the international calendar, the dates of the races were already known. The same six races as last year return, but there is also a seventh race planned. This event will be the Cabar Hillclimb in Croatia scheduled for mid-July.
This weekend in northern Italy the Cronoscalata Cividale – Castelmonte took place. It was a round of the Italian Hillclimb Cup North and it also closed the Austrian and Slovenian Hillclimb Championship. The weather was beautiful which resulted in extremely quick times in all classes.
Right from the start Federico Liber dominated the event. The Gloria C8P EVO driver was fastest in practise and proved to be a class of his own in the race. He managed to obtain a 14 second lead and broke the trackrecord in the process. His teammate Alessandro Tinaburri, also driving a Formula Gloria, joined Liber on the podium in third. Splitting the two teammates in the classifications was Enrico Zandonà competing once again in his unique Reynard 883-026. Driving for the first time in an Osella FA30 was Stefano Gazziero. With a fine performance did he finish fourth overall.
Andreas Gabat (Ford Escort Cosworth) and Karl Schagerl (Volkswagen Golf Rallye TFSI-R) have battled all season long. In every race except two did they finish either first or second. Gabat retired in St. Anton, while Schagerl finished third at Baba. As there was only one drop score this meant that Gabat had to finish third or higher to claim the Austrian Hillclimb Championship in Category 3. After practise and the first race his championship seemed there for the taking but Gabat almost lost it all when he crashed in the second race. Luckily he could continue and after limping the car over the finishline he must have been surprised to find out he actually made it in third place! A small consolation for Schagerl was that he at least took the touringcar victory in Cividale. He did have to beat Manuel Dondi for that as the Fiat X1/9 gave another incredible performance and finished less than a second behind the Austrian.
Apart from Andreas Gabat in Category 3, Hermann Waldy is the new Austrian Champion in Category 4-5 and Chris-André Mayer is the new champion in Category 1-2.
The Slovenian Hillclimb Championship was also decided at Cividale. Milan Bubnic had won the last three races but the Lancia Delta Integrale pilot scored no points in the first two events. Still, if he won the race he would be the champion. His rival Peter Marc knew what had to be done but also knew that his Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX is no match for the Delta under normal circumstances. Marc gave it everything but finally was beaten fair and square by Bubnic for the title.
The European Hillclimb Championship ended this weekend in Croatia with the Buzetski dani. The addition of the Austrian Hillclimb Championship and the Slovenian Hillclimb Championship alongside the large local entry meant that some 200 drivers were present. Simone Faggioli was already secure of the title so he chose to drive at home instead. Milos Benes has won all the races that Faggioli was not present so he was again the favourite this weekend. The Czech Osella FA30 driver did not disappoint. His time in the first race was already 4 seconds quicker than every other driver. In the second race Benes did not have to take anymore risk to take overall victory.
The battle for second place was a lot more exciting. Three drivers finished within half a second although oddly enough they finished in the same order in both races and the overall classifications. Fausto Bormolini (Reynard K02) was the unlucky one of the three as he ended up just outside the podium in fourth. David Hauser (Wolf GB08 F1) had to let Patrik Zajelsnik (Norma M20F) in front of him but still finished third. Zajelsnik not only took the second place trophy, he was also best sportscar driver and Slovenian. The next driver in the general classifications was fifth placed Laszlo Szasz. The Hungarian driving with an Croatian license was already 24 seconds down on Bormolini.
Sixth overall, best touringcar driver and best Austrian was Karl Schagerl (Volkswagen Golf Rallye TFSI-R). His rival Andreas Gabat was initially faster, but a small problem in the second race dropped Gabat back to tenth. The top 10 was completed by Andreas Stollnberger (Dallara F3), Riccardo Ala (Sighinolfi BMW) and Franco Berto (Formula Renault Monza).
Igor Stefanovski crowned his championship winning season with one more victory in Group N. His rival Jaromir Maly finished second in Group A as Christian Schweiger took the final class victory of the year. Finally Dan Michl (Lotus Evora) was the best in E2-SH.
The European Hillclimb Championship continued in Slovenia this weekend for the GHD Ilirska Bistrica. Simone Faggioli (Norma M20 FC) was unchallenged for victory. Once again the excitement came in the E2-SS class. Milos Benes (Osella FA30) was quickest in the first race but his lead over David Hauser was only .01 seconds. Benes could not improve his time in the second race but sadly Hauser could not benefit. The Luxembourgois pilot made a mistake and had to retire his Wolf GB08F1. Second place now went to Fausto Bormolini (Reynard K02). Benes and Bormolini also finished second and third overall. Just missing the podium was best home driver Patrik Zajelsnik (Norma M20F) in fourth. The top 5 was rounded out somewhat surprisingly by Luca Tosini competing in a Osella FA30.
Vladimir Vitver was the fastest silhouette driver at Ilirska Bistrica. The Audi WTTR pilot did not win however as a spin in the first race made him lose too much time. Dan Michl (Lotus Evora) could benefit although Manuel Dondi (Fiat X1/9) was quite close.
The last few races Jaromir Maly had lost a lot of points to his compatriot from the Czech Republic Lukas Vojacek. This weekend Maly retook the initiative as he won Group A while Vojacek retired. Igor Stefanovski was once again the best in Group N and is also European Champion.
The GHD Ilirska Bistrica also counted towards a number of national championships. Milan Bubnic was the best in the Slovenian Championship. The Lancia Delta driver finished third in E1 behind the two Austrian rivals Andreas Gabat and Karl Schagerl. Sinisa Krainc was sixth in E1 and the best in the Croatian Championship.