Here we are! What had appeared to be increasingly likely has happened - and is well deserved: having won their respective categories in each round of the 2019 European tour, the Italians Simone Faggioli and Christian Merli have become joint FIA European Hill Climb Champions in Category 2, with each one accumulating the maximum number of points!
The eleventh of twelve rounds of the FIA European Hill Climb Championship was held in Ilirska Bistrica, in Slovenia, where the 2017 title was awarded to Faggioli ahead of Merli, who had experienced electronic problems. This time, no major mechanical incidents occurred to hinder their triumphal march. A march of perfect symmetry: ten races and ten Group victories for each of them; five overall wins for Merli in the first half of the season and five others for Faggioli in the second half.
In Slovenia, as well as having established a new course record, Faggioli (Norma M20FC Zytek E2-SC) was the winner of both climbs, beating Christian Merli (Osella FA30 Zytek E2-SS) by nearly four seconds.
Beaten by almost 11 seconds, the Austrian Lampert, Frenchman Petit and Italians De Gasperi and Bormolini battled for the third step on the podium, which the former won, thereby solidifying his third place in the provisional classification of the Championship.
The new French Champion, Geoffrey Schatz, who was present in Slovenia and participating in the national event, without being registered on the list for the European Championship, made a big impression, at the wheel of his Norma M20FC with a turbocharged Oreca engine, to the extent of posting times that would have placed him between Faggioli and Merli!
In Category 1, the name of the 2019 Champion will not be revealed until the end of the final round of the season, which will take place on 15 September in Buzet, Croatia. However, there should be no surprises: barring a catastrophe, the Czech Lukas Vojacek (Subaru Impreza WRX STI Group A) should succeed himself, because he only needs to get to the finish line. Often penalised by the lack of competitors in his group – which means he can only score half of the points – Italian Antonino Migliulo will likely be runner-up, despite his often remarkable performances. Migliulo has once again dominated in Group N in Slovenia, while beating all the other cars in the Group A. Only the GTs of Jan Milon (McLaren 650S GT3) and Rado Raspet (Audi R8 GT3) finished ahead of the Mitsubishi Lancer driven by the Italian in Ilirska Bistrica.
To access the provisional classification of the FIA Hill Climb Championship, click here.
To see the photo gallery from the Ilirska Bistrica event, click here.