Al Fito - Report
Subida Al Fito
Yet another year the huge crowds were the main feature at the Spanish round of the European hillclimb championship. The Fito is becoming far more than just a race, being already also a "big party" for a lot of people, something that could end up being more a problem than a reason to be happy for the organizers. If Saturday the attendance was moderate, given the date clash with a rally of the Spanish championship being held less than 100 kilometers, away which mean a lot of the usual "aficionados" were there, Sunday was the usual "people everywhere" scenario ... and even more! With spectators lining the whole climb it's not strange that the minimal incident could end up with some of them being hit by the cars, and that did happen several times along the day! Luckily nobody was seriously hurt but the organizer and the local authorities should be really concerned and must start to think about some ways to better control the crowds if we don't want to have some more severe consecuences in the future.
Focusing on just the sporting event, this year the main attraction was the presence of Ander Vilarino, son of the former European Champion Andrés Vilarino. The youngster Ander came to hillclimbing at the end of last year when we decided to leave the World Series, where he wasn't getting the results he has got the previous season. Ander was inmediately on the pace at the wheel of his spectacular Formula Nippon car and soon beat all his father records, winning with ease both climbs on Sunday and getting even close of the Fito absolute record time, still in the hands of Franz Thschager.
The only driver that could have a shot on Vilarino's times, althought a very difficult one, was the double italien champion Simone Faggioli. But the Osella's driver had a very incident packed weekend, crashing on Saturday and going off road again on the first official climb Sunday morning. Whitout Faggioli able to finish the race, the fight for the European championship points was a private affaire between Merli and Regosa. Merli was surprisingly quicker after the first climb, specially because this was his first visit to the always difficult Fito, but Regosa was able to recover the time lost and won on agregatte. Third was Bormolini, the only of the CN drivers able to improve his times on the last climb, but not eough to beat neither Regosa not Merly.
Far behind the top four, Egozcue was fifth (and second among the FIA singleseaters cup) and Kramsky sixth and never in the pace of the italien Osella drivers, although he was able to beat the Nippon cars of both Napione and Szasz. The later was a mere five tenths faster than Guitart, the quicker of the Spanish CM prototypes, a category of very nimble cars animated by 1000cc motorbike engines that are becoming very popular in Spain. Actually the faster CM was Apalantza, the leading driver of the powerfull BRC-LMC team (six cars entered at each Spanish race!) but his BRC was found slightly under the minimum allowed weight at the final scrutineering and was excluded from the second climb results.
The first group A was the Spaniard Luis Flores, driving a very nice Peugeot 206WRC and beating whitout problems the quicker "european" group A, the always impressive Escort Kit Car of Maly. The czech driver didn't have to force his pace as his main rival, Dan Michl, put his Skoda kit car "upside down" just 500 meters away from the start line of the first Sunday climb. With Maly taking it easy on the second climb, the first two group N cars, Weidinger (BMW) and Jurena (Mitsubishi) finished in front the Escort with the german having the best over the Czech for group N honours.
Also an interesting battle on the top of the SP group, with Vojacek beating Doubek on both climbs but with quite small differences between them. Most SP cars has to restart the first climb after Gabina Jermanova went of road hitting a couple of badly placed spectators on the process. Althought Gabina was quite scared on the spot, nothing grave did happen and after the medical crew evacuated the injured people everything went on whitout major dramas.
Apart from the European championship, the Fito is also valid for the Spanish hillclimb series. The rules in this case are quite different, as each meeting has got two separate climbs called "phase A" and "phase B", instead of having an aggregate result after the two official hillclimbs. Anyway, at the Fito, both "phases" finished the same way, with the current Spanish hillclimb champion, Carlos Hernandez, putting his BMW 320 ST in front of the Audis driven by local hero Jose Antonio Fombona and new A4 driver Angel Castro. The quicker Spanish touring cars where faster than the european tintops, something logical as they are far more developped within the group A2 regulations.
Autor: Daniel Cean-Bermudez/E
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Článek publikován: 22.5.2005
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Stránka aktualizována: 29.3.2011