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The Rechberg is alive … and shaking

Der Rechberg lebt…und bebt

Merli and Schagerl are the dominators of the mountain classic. The premiere was an absolute success for the new orga team. A weekend full of new records and top performances on the track.

A huge stone falls from the heart of the triumvirate at the top of the organization: “We expected an enormous response, but what happened from Friday to Sunday here on the Rechberg exceeded our wildest expectations!”

Statements of the organizers

Peter Eibisberger: “We can only say thank you. To the authorities – first and foremost the Styrian provincial government and Governor Christopher Drexler. The district authorities, the two municipalities Fladnitz an der Teichalm and Semriach . The supporting clubs KDW Motorsport and Auer Power Motorsport with all their helpers, the fire departments with their great, private commitment and the blue light organizations – they all contributed significantly to the success of this event. And to all the landowners who were instrumental in making sure everyone really had their place – whether participants or visitors.”

Mario Klammer: “I can only agree with Peter. From the FIA – the highest motor sport federation worldwide, came extremely praising words, which motivate us even more for the next edition in 2024. Personally, my biggest thanks go to the fans who came to us in droves. They were so disciplined, thoughtful and thus helpful for the entire process, which is something you only see in motorsports. We have received only the best feedback from our police. One highlight was that at Rechberg, two people received a police escort. On the one hand, our provincial governor Christopher Drexler and also Karl Schagerl, who was thus able to get through the crowds to the start on time – thank you for that!”

Christian Ferstl: “I now know every street post on the Rechberg by its first name, because I’ve been living virtually on the mountain for the last two weeks. Our cooperation with the road maintenance department, the support associations and all landowners was borderline brilliant! Everywhere we were welcomed with open arms and really everyone helped out where they could. This makes work fun and I take my hat off to the entire population from Tulwitz to Rechberg-Dorf! They live with the naturally arising restrictions that this mega-event brings with it, and at the same time use every opportunity to contribute somewhere helpful.”

To the sporty

There was a lot going on on the 4,440-meter race track this weekend. Already Saturday with its three practice runs offered the fans a glimpse of what they can expect on Sunday – namely hillclimb racing at its best.

249 starters (including 8 ladies!) tackled the Rechberg. Many established Rechberg connoisseurs competed for the best training times with “first-timers” who had come to eastern Styria for the first time. However, the top pilots have not yet shown what they are really capable of. There were also some technical failures to report. Among others also “Mr. Bergrallye” Felix Pailer, who had to park his Lancia with engine damage.

The same happened to Karl Schagerl. But he immediately loaded his VW Golf R TFSI onto the trailer and drove home (Purgstall/Lower Austria) to install a new engine in order to be able to drive again on Sunday.

And indeed, Karl and his team achieved the almost impossible. As soon as the Bolide was equipped with a new heart, it was off again in the direction of Rechberg. Karl phoned race control on the way and they in turn organized a police escort to get the racer and team to the paddock quickly and safely.

There has never been anything like this at the Rechberg, but Schagerl got to the start in time for the first race and thanked his team and all the fans with the fastest touring car time (1:56.245) in the first heat.

Second fastest was Jörg Weidinger (2:01,645) on BMW Z4 GT3, the third time was for Nicolas Werver(2:02,274), who was however disqualified after the second race run because of some violations of the sports law.

Fast was also Rupert Schwaiger with his Porsche (2:01,889) – however he drove at the Rechberg in the class D/E2-SH/+3000, because the FIA technicians were of the opinion that the Porsche does not fit into any performance class. Rupert took it easy: “I just want to have fun. It’s not about points for me. That’s why I’m racing here for the fans – and of course also because it’s my favorite mountain!”.

A look at the proto-types shows us how close the top is. The fastest three pilots were separated by an incredible 97 thousandths of a second (!) after the first run. Christian Merli (1:45.786) on an Osella FA 30 Judd LRM won heat 1 ahead of Czech Petr Trnka on Norma M20 FC/Mugen (1:45.879) and only

Four thousandths of a second behind him was the fast Spanish Joseba Iraola Lanzagorta in his Nova NP 01 (1:45.883).

So breathtaking suspense for the second storm on the Rechberg was ensured and the fans could hardly wait for it. After all, the first run lasted almost 5 (!) hours because some of the steering wheel artists underestimated the pitfalls of the Rechberg and the mountain punished them mercilessly. All only fender benders and cold deformations, but a lot of work for the track crew, which, however, distinguished itself by quick and professional action. The number of missions alone was mighty high, and thus the time flew by at breakneck speed.

Right from the start: Christian Merli dominated the second run and conjured up a new track record in the fabulous time of 1:43.575 on the mountain – that’s an average speed of 154.3 kilometers per hour.

Top speed: 238.7 Km/h

Karl Schagerl was unbeatable in the touring car category. He drove his VW Golf R TFSI to the top of the pass in a sensational 1:56.245 already in the first heat and that again means a track record with an average speed of 137.5 kilometers per hour.

The all-important second race run was started as usual with the participants of the historical classes. This year the Rechbergrennen counted for the first time to the historical European championship and the many fans experienced a true fireworks of different vehicles – from the touring cars to the open “oldies”, which but already gave powerful gas.

The overall results after two race rounds:

HHC (Historic European Championship)

  1. Piero Lottini (ITA – Osella PA9/90) 4:17.957
  2. Franz Hilger (DEU – Chevron B38) 4:37,457
  3. Reinhard Sonnleitner (AUT – VW Golf Rallye G60) 4:46,303

EHC (Modern European Championship) – Category 2

  1. Christian Merli (ITA – Osella FA30) 3:29,361
  2. Petr Trnka (CEZ – Norma M20 FC) 3:31,494
  3. Joseba Iraola Lanzagorta (ESP – Nova NP01) 3:31,635

EHC (Modern European Championship) – Category 1

  1. Karl Schagerl (AUT – VW Golf R TFSI) 3:53,667
  2. Jörg Weidinger (DEU – BMW Z4 GT3) 4:03,759
  3. Reinhold Taus (AUT – Subaru Impreza P4 Turbo) 4:05,504

Slovak championship

  1. Petr Trnka (CZE – Norma M20 FC / Mugen) 3:31,494
  2. Marek Rybnicek (CZE – KTM X-BOW GTX) 4:04,724
  3. Karol Krupa (POL – Skoda Fabia CT) 4:06,130

Slovenian Championship

  1. Milan Bubnic (SVN – Lancia Delta HF Integrale) 4:12,627
  2. Anze Dovjak (SVN – Hyundai i30 TCR) 4:22,510
  3. Patrik Ruzzier (SVN – Fiat Punto Kit Car EVO) 4:36,818

ÖBM Historic (Austrian Mountain Championship)

  1. Reinhard Sonnleitner (AUT – VW Golf Rallye G60) 4:46,303
  2. Gerald Glinzner (AUT – Porsche 911 Carrera) 4:47,682
  3. Reinhold Prantl (AUT – Porsche Carrera RS) 4:52,833

ÖBM Modern (Austrian Mountain Championship)

  1. Christian Merli (ITA – Osella FA30) 3:29,361
  2. Petr Trnka (CEZ – Norma M20 FC) 3:31,494
  3. Corentin Starck (BEL – Nova NP 01-2 Mugen) 3:35,816

Fastest Austrian: Christoph Lambert (6th place overall)

Fastest Styrian: Rupert Schwaiger (17th place overall)

Fastest Styrian: Sigrid Ferstl (overall place 76)

In score: Total 215

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