- 71st Trento-Bondone Historic Hill Race to be held July 1-3
- FIA European Hill Climb Championship contenders gear up for Round 4
- The second event of the 2022 FIA Historic Hill Climb Championship season promises fun
A festival of motorsport is taking place this weekend in the scenic Italian Alps as the FIA European Hill Climb Championship (FIA EHC) and FIA Historic Hill Climb Championship (FIA HHC) head to the classic weekend of Trento-Bondone (July 1-3).
Founded in 1925, the Trento-based event is the oldest of its kind in the world and one of the definitive weekends in this exciting discipline. The 17.3km climb rises from 275 meters above sea level to 1650 meters on winding alpine roads, and drivers often have to contend with changing weather conditions throughout the event.
Although the course is one of the most demanding in the world, this does not affect the performance of the pilots and the machines, the current absolute record being a time of 9 min 0.52 seconds, set in 2017 by Simone Faggioli, the tenfold winner at Trent.
The only driver to beat Faggioli at this historic event since 2010 is the current FIA EHC Category 2 points leader for open cars, Christian Merli. After taking top honors in the first three rounds of the 2022 season so far, Merli is keen to claim the second overall victory at Trento of his career, but discovered during testing that a wiring problem in his Osella revised was causing reliability issues.
“We put everything back together and then fixed the setup and the gearbox for this particular climb, as well as installing additional cooling fans,” Merli said. “Also, with the nature of the climb, we need to increase the airflow on the brakes. We are working day and night to arrive in time for Friday’s checks, hoping that everything is in order for the first test of Saturday.
Merli’s pre-event gremlins will offer hope, Czech ace Petr Trnka leads Merli’s pursuit in Category 2 points. Trnka ran Merli very close at home in the last event, the Ecce Homo Sternberk, and having finished second to Merli in every event so far this season, Trnka will be keen to hit hard on his rival’s floor.
The 2022 season has also brought strong performances from Spanish ace Javier Villa Garcia and Frenchman Sébastien Petit, who will also be among the quickest contenders in Trento and eager to upset. Merli certainly won’t get everything he wants as he looks to build on the success of his season so far.
In the Category 1 classes for closed production cars, the current points lead is held by Macedonian Jaksic Vasilije, competing in Group 4 with a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. A host of talent across the various Tier 2 classes will no doubt be looking to challenge Vasilije’s position at Trento, including Group 1 leader Karl Schagerl, the Austrian having won every round of the season so far in his highly modified VW Golf.
Not only will modern hillclimb machines be put through their paces in Trento, but the second round of this season’s FIA HHC will also take place. An all-star opening round at the Ecce Homo Sternberk saw Italian riders including Brando Motti and Giorgio Tessore take top honors in their respective classes, giving Italy a narrow points lead in the Cup standings. of Nations on the host of the first round, the Czech Republic.
A strong entrance from all over Europe is guaranteed by the mystique of Trento. There are a host of Porsche 911s as well as Jean Marie Almeras’ fabulous Porsche 935 – the same car he won the main championship with at the time.
Lancias, Fiats and Alfa Romeos populate the grand home entrance for Trento, but the diversity and pedigree of HHC contenders is impressive and will ensure a formidable battle for huge crowds to enjoy.
The action can also be viewed online and on TV in select countries. The complete broadcasting program of 71st The Trento-Bondone hill climb is as follows:
For full points positions in the FIA EHC, please click here (link: https://www.fia.com/events/european-hill-climb-championship/season-2022/2022-standings)
For the full FIA HHC points ranking, please click here (link: https://www.fia.com/events/historic-hill-climb-championship/season-2022/2022-fia-historic-hill-climb- championship )