Ecce Homo 2012

2nd - 3rd June 2012

European Hillclimb Championship

Ecce Homo in 2012 was one of the best supported races here in a long time. And a year hiatus, caused by date clash of Ecce Homo with Le Mans in 2011, we were back to bring you a short report and especially large photo gallery from the biggest hill climb race in the Czech Republic. Its history started in 1971 and as an official European Hillclimb Championship event since 1981, it is a race with longest tradition. The main contender for the win was Simone Faggioli who won also last three races hear and is currently almost unbeatable any where in Europe. Driving the latest Osella FA30, in fact a single-seat sports prototype, he almost broke his own track record during practice despite not driving at the full throttle at the end of his practice heat.

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Only problem for the Sunday's race was the weather forecast. It was expected that during the second racing heat on Sunday, it should start raining. Unfortunately, the organisers were not flexible enough to allow faster drivers from qualifying races earlier when it was still guaranteed try track. The final quarter of the race programme, when all the fastest cars had their second heat, heavy cloudy were circulated above the Šternberg hill and some raindrops fell on the track. Until the final moments of the race it was not clear when the track becomes wet and slow. As the entire track is 7.8 kilometres, the conditions were really changeable at times. And despite it remained almost completely dry, no driver was actually sure if the next curve would be wet or not, so they had to run very carefully. Some drivers from high classes were almost 20 seconds slower but most of the really top drivers could run almost at their mornings pace.

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After the first hear Faggioli was in the lead, which was quite expected. More notably he broke his own track record by more than three second, clocking at quite excellent 2:45.630. Not a long time ago any time under 3 minutes was almost a miracle. This year seven drivers ran under 3 minutes but none of them was able to come any closer that Faggioli's performance. Local driver Miloš Beneš, who was second fastest in qualifying, had his limit at about 2:53-54. However on Sunday he was a bit surprisingly beaten by Swiss Marcel Steiner who ran his first heat slightly under a 2:53 mark. Despite Beneš improved his time in the second heat (the only one from those running under the rain threat), it was not enough and Steiner defended his second place overall gained in the first heat.

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So in the end it was Faggioli first, Steiner second and Beneš third. All they had one thing in common: They all were driving single-seat sports prototype Osella FA30. These prototypes are classified and score points with pure single-seaters formulas, usually former F3000 cars. But Osella cars is so well developed that they really do not have any serious opposition in this class. Next two places belonged to Reynards Formula 3000 (Oskar Krámský, also local driver, and Fausto Bormolini from Italy) ahead of Stankovic with another FA30.

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According to our information, of the nine Osellas built seven of them were entered to the Šternberk race. Though one stayed in the paddock as the driver suffered a back pain and decided to skip the race meeting, it proves how excellent the entry here was this year. Some of the Osella were built as a two-seater sports car. They are designated as PA30. The best of them was driven by local driver Petr Vítek who finished 8th but he was still only second in the E2-SC class, as the two-seater class is labelled (single-seaters are E2-SS, and there are also silhouettes called E2-SH). That E2-SC (sports car) class was won by another Czech driver, Dušan Nevěřil, who raced a new modern Norma M20FC.

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Two remaining positions in the top 10 went also the Czech drivers. Janík with an old Lola F3000 was also rather quick with his open wheel special but Dan Michl's tenth place with times around 3:10 was really an excelled performance for a closed road-going- based car (special Lotus Evora). Next among the production-based closed cars were two Porsches but each running in a different category. A very closed duel between them decided Herbert Stolz in an antient Porsche 935 DP from 1989 who was marginally slower in the first nice-weather heat than Herbert Pregartner in a 997 with am unusually large rear wing but did not slow that much in the second rain-threatened heat.

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There was also another Porsche 935 in the field. That one was a pure original from later seventies brought here by former European Champion Jean-Marie Alméras. He entered the Historic Championship, which was traditionally also part of the Ecce Homo race. It was really an impressive machine and very quick for the vintage category, which was otherwise dominated by a couple of early/mid-seventies Formula 2 cars. Unfortunately the car first ran out of the track in the second practice session just in front of our eyes and then (after finishing the session in an improved time anyway) withdraw the car completely when a mechanical issue appeared in the evening and went home.

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There were more very interesting historic cars that missed the race itself. Among them Bonucci with a spider Osella PA9/90, modern looking car but 22 years old, and the second F2, a Chevron B42 of Jaroslav Prášek. The remaining quick car, another Formula 2, March 712M in hands of Martin Vondrák completely dominated this section of the race beating second historic driver Josef Michl in a Porsche 911 Carrera RS (with an RSR rear wing) by almost full minute after two heats. Next three positions occupied old Formula Easter Metalex (MTX 1-03 and 1-06), 1300 cc machines from 70s and 80s built to formula which was popular behind the iron curtain, ahead of remaining Porsche in the field. This time a 911 Carrera RSR in hands of Giartuas from Italy, best foreign historic car driver.

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There were many interesting moments, actions, nice battles and also some non-serious accidents during the weekend, some of which are covered by the photos.

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