The moment that has been anticipated for more than 21 months is now close at hand and can be counted in hours: this Saturday, 8 May, at 9 a.m., the green light will be given for the resumption of the FIA European Hill Climb Championship, at the foot of the 5km Boticas course in Portugal.
Since the last round of the 2019 edition, in September in Croatia, the FIA European Hill Climb Championship has been on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without enough events to run, the Championship was cancelled completely in 2020. Even if the 2021 edition will not be as complete as expected, following announcements of the cancellation of the French, Austrian and, most recently, German rounds, the Championship is confirmed and will take place as early as this weekend of 8-9 May with the Boticas event in Portugal.
Usually, the Portuguese round of the European tour takes place in Falperra-Braga. However, the organiser of this event will be hosting the 4th edition of the FIA Hill Climb Masters later this year (9-10 October) and, in agreement with the FPAK (ASN of Portugal), has therefore left its place to Boticas to host the European Championship event.
Boticas is located about 150km north-east of Porto and not far from the border with Spain, in the heart of a region used to major motor sport events, with Vila Real (host of the WTCR) to the south and Montalegre (Rallycross) to the north. An ideal road for hill climbing starts almost in the centre of Boticas and has been specially designed for the race, in particular with the installation of safety rails.
Forced into reduced programmes for months, the regular European Hill Climb Championship specialists are keen to get back behind the wheel, although a number of them will be on the move in the third round, with the very long journey to Portugal and Spain curbing many due to travel constraints in the current COVID context.
Always so close in performances, Christian Merli (Osella FA30 Zytek) and Simone Faggioli (Norma M20FC Zytek) could not ignore these first rounds, at the risk of abandoning any claim to the final title. On a course that is new for each of them and therefore with the same level of experience, it will be interesting to see to what extent the Frenchman Sébastien Petit (Nova NP01-2 Zytek) and the Italian Diego Degasperi (Osella FA30 Zytek) will be able to challenge the two Italian tenors. The rest of the Category 2 field will be, as usual, quite mixed, with the 3.0 V8 single seaters of Fausto Bormolini (Reynard 2KL Mugen) and Renzo Napione (Reynard K01 Cosworth), the Formula Renault 2. 0 of Kevin Petit (Tatuus FR), the motorcycle-engined single-seaters of Federico Liber and Mirko Venturato (both on Gloria C8P Evo Suzuki), the 2-litre Osella of Portuguese José Correia (Osella PA2000 Evo2 Honda) and the turbocharged motorcycle-engined prototypes of Javier Villa and Jose Manuel Gonzales (BRC BR53 Suzuki).
In Category 1, it is the introduction of the “Performance Factor” – a new classification method – that will attract attention and allow for unprecedented confrontations between cars from different backgrounds but with similar performances. Group 1 of Category 1 will pit the extremely powerful Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII of Swiss driver Ronnie Bratschi against the Porsche 997 GT2 of French driver Nicolas Werver and the Lamborghini Huracan of Spain’s Jose Antonio Fombona. In Group 2, the confrontation will involve the Skoda Fabia, specially honed for hill climb, of Slovakian Jan Milon, the Porsche 991 GT3 Cup of Pedro Marques and the Kia Ceed TCR of Luis Delgado. Finally, in Group 3, the Cupra TCRs of Joaquim Teixeira and Manuel Sousa will face the Mitsubishi Lancers of Slovakian Tomas Vavrinec and Italian Antonino Migliuolo.
Three opportunities to familiarise themselves with the course will be given to the drivers on Saturday 8 May, from 9am. Three race heats are scheduled for Sunday 9 May, starting at 9 a.m., with the two best times of each driver being added together to establish the final classification.
Results and live-timing available via this link: https://chronomoto.hu/fiahillclimb/
Website of the organizer of the Rampa de Boticas (including link to livestreaming): www.rampadeboticas.com
Source : Fia