UNLIKE last year’s European Hill-Climb Championship when the late Edgar Barth and his works Porsche 8-cylinder Prototype was unbeatable, this year’s Championship has been a no-holds-barred dogfight between Abarth, Porsche and Lodovico Scarfiotti in a hybrid 2.0 Dino-Ferrari V6. Starting in early June with the 13-mile Mont Ventoux Hill-Climb in Southern France, the series got off to an exciting start with ex-Porsche man Hans Herrmann in a works 2.0 Abarth-Fiat GT, setting a new outright course record and beating the two new Porsche team drivers, Gerhard Mitter and Anton Fischaber into the bargain.
A week later in Germany at the Rossfeld Hill-Climb Mitter reversed the tables and took a slender lead over Herrmann. Moving to Northern Italy for the climb of the many hairpins, Trento Bondone on July 11th, the initiative was taken by 1962 Champion, Scarfiotti, in his closed Dino with a 2-litre Ferrari V6 engine, obviously backed by Maranello but entered by the Scuderia St. Ambroeus. His time of 11 min. 56.4 sec. broke Barth’s record by 21.4 sec.! Herrmann slipped back into second place with 12 min. 2.8 sec., with Mitter third at 12 min. 12.6 sec., and Fischaber fourth at 12 min. 12.6 sec.—all four bettering the old record!
Porsche were by now really beginning to wake up to the fact that their two cars, lightweight flat-eight machines with glass-fibre bodies (as tried out by Colin Davis in the Targa Florio), would need to be really driven hard if they were to hold off Scarfiotti; and for the Cesana-Sestrieres Hill-Climb on July 25th they turned up well beforehand and practised until late at night and early in the mornings on the bumpy 10.4-kilometre course which winds its way round the mountains rather than up as was the case at Trento-Bondone. Their efforts were in vain as Scarfiotti turned up with an open Dino into which the V6 Ferrari engine had been fitted, and once more broke the record by 20.3 sec., with a time of 5 min. 12.8 sec. Mitter also finished inside the old record, but was 5.2 sec. behind Scarfiotti. Herrmann (their second car for Herbert Demetz non-starting) took third place for Abarth, with 5 min. 30 sec. Fischaber, either too tired from his late nights and early mornings or just going too fast for his abilities, went off just before the half-way mark, damaging the front of the Porsche but only scratching his wrist. At this stage Mitter led with 25 points from Herrmann with 22 points and Scarfiotti with 18 points.
Fribourg on August 8th produced by the closest finish yet—Scarfiotti winning with 12 min. 33.91 sec. from Mitter at 12 min. 35.81 sec. Herrmann non-started, although he had managed third fastest time in practice and Porsche’s GT exponent, Herbert Muller driving in place of Fischaber, crashed just after the start of his second run, again bending the Porsche but escaping uninjured. Herbert Demetz took third place with the third works Abarth. This result left Mitter in the lead with 31 points, but Scarfiotti displaced Herrmann for second place with 27 points. Herrmann still had a useful 22 points and Muller’s performance in the earlier rounds with a Porsche 904 had produced 14 points and qualified him for 4th place. By the time this appears in print the results will be known for the Ollon-Villars Hill-Climb on August 29th, but the Championship cannot be decided until the last event at the Gaisberg (Austria) on September 19th. However the GT Hill-Climb Championship must already be considered won by Muller in his Porsche 904.—E.L.W.