Al Fito - Report
Victory and record for Regal at "El Fito"
The Fito hillclimb in Spain was the second event counting towards the 2004 European Championship. The Spanish round of the series was, as usual, filled with an incredible number of spectators (up to 80,000 according to the organizers!) which can sometimes make life difficult for the marshals, given that the weekend is becoming a sort of “Motor Racing Woodstock” for most of the people attending the event!
However the race took place without any major dramas and the more than 100 drivers who finally took part entertained the huge crowd with a great show on a very sunny weekend.
The teams were already at Arriondas (the town at the bottom of the Fito hill) on Friday for scrutineering. Sadly ten of the initially entered “European” drivers weren’t present and we especially missed the Team Kramsky’s BMWs of Pulic and Bradaric.
Saturday was the day for the two practice climbs and if Vilarino started the faster on the first run, Regal quickly responded by setting a time very close to the hillclimb record held by his Vasque rival. Both were driving Reynard F3000 single-seaters which, even at the quite twisty Fito climb, still had the upper hand over the CN sportcars. Among these the quickest was De Biasi showing that the 2-litre engined Osellas are already a match for the more powerful 3-litres which, this year, are really slowed down by the new FIA restrictions.
Group A was a simple affair for Senkyr who took it easy and was even beaten on one of the runs by the best group N car, the EVO 8 Matador driven by Jurena. The “European” touring cars were easily outpaced by the quicker A2s entered for the Spanish series, the fastest being the Audi A4 of local favourite Fombona. Even quicker than these were the really astonishing CM cars, a new class which has been run in Spain for three years now. These small prototypes with their 1000cc motorcycle engines are becoming very popular over there because they offer an unbeatable price/performance ratio.
The two official runs were scheduled on Sunday and soon it became clear that Regal would be the winner. The young French driver was quickest, beating the previous hillclimb record by more than two seconds even though he head to slow down under the yellow flags caused by the accident of the Reynard F3000 driven by Egozcue who was running in front of him. After Regal, Vilarino arrived at the accident spot and was red flagged so he had to return down hill again and was allowed to repeat his climb at the beginning of the second run. A quite controversial decision although it didn’t have any serious effect because the former European Champion was never close to Regal’s times and in fact his effort on that second attempt at the first run was more than 4 seconds slower than the Frenchman.
Regosa showed that this year he’s back on form and was third best and first among the CN class, beating De Biasi who was able to place his Osella PA21 2-litre in front of the PA20s 3-litres of Magliona, Napione and Bormolini.
Senkyr was again the quickest group A runner although his advantage over the second placed Cordoba WRC of the Spanish group A champion was less than two seconds. Krugg was already leading group N with Jurena, Voves and local driver Hevia all very closely packed, all of them covered by less than three seconds. Jean Marc Charvin beat Vojacek for SP honours although here the difference was just four tenths of a second so nothing was decided yet.
The surprises came in both Spanish series, the A2 and the CM. The former was won by the new young Spanish sensation Carlos Hernández, driving a BMW320ST while the latter went to yet another teenager, Gorka Apalantza after the engine problems suffered by the series leader Palacio and the time lost by another of the favourites, former Spanish Peugeot works rally driver, Solís, who was slowed down by yellow flags as a rival had spun at the very last corner.
The second run didn’t produced any changes in the European classes with Regal, Regosa, Senkyr and Krugg being the fastest again in the FIA Cup, CN, A and N respectively. Only in SP did we have any changes with Vojacek reacting after his previous defeat to overcome Charvin’s advantage and take the overall victory. In the Spanish series though things did change again with locals Fombona and Palacio scoring the best times although without enough of a difference to overcome the time lost on the first run. This handed the victory to Hernandez in A2 and to Solis in CM, even if the BRC driver hadn’t won any of the runs.
At the end of the meeting Regal was very satisfied with his performances. He told us that, although he’d give preference to the domestic French series, he is very likely to be seen on some other runs counting towards for FIA cup. Regosa, for his part, was very pleased with his second victory of the season and with the times set, just two seconds slower than last years winning record of Bormolini even if, according to Giulio, this year their engines are producing something like 80BHP less.
Next week, almost without a pause, the third run of the European Hill Climb Championship at the Portugese Rampa Serra de Estrella will close this Iberian sojourn before the teams head to the Czech Republic for the fourth meeting of the season, the classic Ecce Homo
Literatura, odkazy, zdroje
Text: Daniel Cean-Bermudez (www.citadecampeones.com) - English translation by Gerald P. Swan (www.gjd-solutions.co.uk)
Autor: Daniel Cean-Bermudez/E
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