FIA Classes Preview – Tierp Internationals

Tierp Internationals 4-7th June 2015 – FIA Classes Preview

Liam Jones – Top Fuel Dragster

Close to 280 teams are entered for Tierp Internationals and they come from 8 countries in Europe. The event is included in the FIA European Drag Racing Championship (cars), EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship, EDRS European Drag Racing Series (cars and motorcycles and including Junior Dragster). In this article Speedgroup provide a brief preveiw for each of the five FIA Championship classes!

FIA Top Fuel Dragster

Anita Mäkelä and crew, who arrive at Tierp with a fresh win from Santa Pod will do everything they can to defend their lead, but will have to do that without Dom Lagana, as the American tuner has other commitments. Runner-up from Santa Pod, Stig Neergaard is also on the entry list.

With nine entrants, one will be left outside the ladder. Multiple champion Urs Erbacher will start his season at Tierp and is monitored by a film crew from German RTL and also have an engagement for sponsor Victory and will have Victory motorcycles on display in the pit area for anyone to check out!

Another racer who will have his first race of the season is Swede Björn Mårtensson. And for Stefan Gunnarsson, Tierp Internationals will be his first ever Top Fuel race as the Top Methanol Dragster racer will debut a dragster he bought from England. It is unclear to what extent Gunnarsson will be in competition in Top Fuel. The veteran of the Swedes, Micke Kågered set at new personal best at Santa Pod with 4.02 sec. and this professional motorsport entrepreneur is host for many guests invited by sponsors on site at Tierp. The RF Motorsports cars at this event are piloted by the two established drivers Finland´s Jari Halinen, Duncan Micallef from Malta and UK based rookie based Liam Jones, who made a very confident TF competition debut at Santa Pod. This is probably the most difficult of all classes to foresee a winner for. On paper Mäkelä stands out, but in reality first qualification run on Friday will show who got the setup working for them already off the trailer. And that can be an advantage worth a great deal.

Looking back.. At last year´s FIA event at Tierp Arena (in august) we saw Thomas Nataas the win and a low ET at 3.95 sec. over the 1000 feet competition distance. The Norwegian/Danish team Nataas and Andersen Racing was the only ones in the 5 sec range at the event. They are not running in the FIA championship this season and are missed by many.

Stefan Gunnarsson – Top Methanol Dragster

FIA Top Methanol Dragster

Dave Wilson was the winner at championship round #1 at Santa Pod May 22-25th. He will not be on site to compete at Tierp Internationals. At this point there are only two entrants, the two Swedes Jonny Lagg and Stefan Gunnarsson after the Habermann brothers unfortunately had to cancel their participation. Gunnarsson is also entered in Top Fuel Dragster but it is uncertain at this point at what level of commitment.  It will be the two Swedes running against the clock to hunt new lower ET:s and higher speed. Advantage on pa to Jonny Lagg who has a PB of 5.43 sec from Santa Pod 2014, while Gunnarsson on the other hand set his low ET 5.47 at Tierp Arena.

Looking back.. At last year´s FIA event at Tierp Arena (in august) we saw Maltese driver Monty Bugeja take the win and a low ET at 5.32 sec. with Chris Polidano as runner-up. None of the Maltese drivers are entered for FIA championship competition this season.

Johan Lindberg – Top Methanol Funny Car 

Top Methanol Funny Car

Five drivers entered, all from Sweden and Finland. Leif Andreasson, who is also one of the founders of Tierp Arena arrives to the track as points leader. For the other four; Mikael Larsson, Johan Lindberg, Ari Pietilä and Johnny Oksa this will be the first championship event of the season. All eyes are on Lindberg Bros. of course. It will be interesting to see tuner Jonny Lindberg in action. Jonny who has been competing successfully in the US with the teams other funny car and the question is if there are any new found tuning secrets he can apply on Johan´s car at Tierp Arena this weekend. Johan ´s skills as a driver is of course also part of the previous success. A five car progressive elimination ladder will be in effect, which means all drivers will be in competition on Sunday independent of their ET during qualifications.

Missing at Tierp are Danny Bellio from Belgium who had to cancel his participation due to engine damage, German Jürgen Nagel and UK:s Stephanie Milam who started the season at Santa Pod. Both participate in selected rounds which does not include this event.

Looking back.. At last year´s FIA event at Tierp Arena (in august) we saw Leif Andreasson take the event win over Johan Lindberg. Lindberg was the only one running in the 5.4´s and was runner-up.  It is not going to be an easy task for Lindberg nor Andreasson as the Finnish teams and Swede Larsson have fast enough cars to interfere.

Simon Gustafsson – Pro Stock Car

Pro Stock Car

On the entry list 9 drivers, where only Sampsa Palos is from outside Sweden. One will be left outside the eight car ladder after the four sessions of qualifications. Bengt Ljungdahl and Simon Gustafsson both entered the class last year, Simon as the new driver of the Samantha Racing Pro Stocker owned by veteran Mikael Sjöqvist. Simon instantly agreed to fill in as replacement after Ulf Wagnhester decided to retire midseason. The Sjöqvist/Gustafsson cooperation turned out well and Simon, although the youngest driver in the class and still in his 20´s has been in drag racing for many years. He last came from the Super Street class but had a dream to compete in Pro Stock Car. And now it´s reality. Ljungdahl, who runs the former Malmgren Racing Pro Stocker was on a learning curve last year, but he too has a solid background as a driver in drag racing. Christian Sagelv, Sampsa Palos and Jan Ericsson enter the championship at Tierp. Ericsson tested at Tierp in May and it will be interesting to follow on the teams´ first event this season. Lindström  and Malmgren currently second and third in the championship. Jimmy Ålund in points lead after having won at Santa Pod and set new European ET (6.499) and speed records (215 mph)! Many will be interested to see if it can be repeated under new circumstances at Tierp Arenas concrete track and different weather conditions. Petersson currently in  4th place in the championship is always one to look out for..

Looking back..  Last year at Tierp Arena we saw Magnus Petersson make it all the way to the final and take the stripe before opponent Michael Malmgren. The qualification results ranged from 6.53 (Ålund) with the bump spot at 7.11 (Jan Palmqvist). Predictions (and hopes) are that this time we will see a bump spot at Tierp below the 7 second mark!

Roger Johansson – Pro Modified

Pro Modified

The biggest class in the championship contains a strong base of teams in Sweden, which is visible on the entry list for Tierp Internationals. However it also shows drivers from Switzerland, Germany, Finland and Holland. A 16 car elimination ladder is in effect and it means quite a few will be left outside. At the moment 24 drivers are entered.

Swede Mats Eriksson and his Green Goblin team performed best of all at the recent Santa Pod event, ran consistently fast and took a well- deserved win. Other top contenders at Tierp include 2014 Pro Mod champion Mattias Wulcan, who raced in Qatar over the winter and is working with a different setup compared to last season.  Bruno Bader on the contrary has kept things intact and is one contender who can also win runs anytime. Other drivers arriving at Tierp somewhat warmed up by the Santa Pod event include Holland´s David Vegter, Roger Johansson, Michael Gullqvist and Marco Maurischat. The latter who made a welcome comeback after a year off drag racing. Great to see a few new Swedish teams taking the step into Pro Mod this season and we will have reason to present them further in our event coverage. Andreas Arthursson, Per Granqvist and Matts Logren. Established drivers on the entry list who do parts of the FIA Championship include Åke Persson who entered the class last season, Håkan Persson and Jan Brännvall. In addition veterans Micke Johansson and Johan Westberg. Most eye catching and popular with the crowd without doubt is Fast Fredddy Fagerström with his pick-up. The team are switching to race a turbo engine this season and assumingly it is going to take some time to figure out. Also on the entry list and crowd pleasers are former Pro Stock champion Niclas Andersson in the Old 51 Chevy Coupe and Anders Nilsson in the lime green Jackhammer Cuda.

Finlands most successful Pro Mod team, with Tero Laukkanen behind the wheel was runner-up at Santa Pod and competes at Tierp, accompanied by one more Finnish entrant in form of Marko Lantto. Also entered and with a long distance to travel, Swiss driver Thomas Stiefel. Dutch driver Robert Joosten had to cancel the Santa Pod trip after his new race car was delayed in arriving from the US. Joosten now makes his first appearance of the season at Tierp.

Looking back.. At last year´s FIA event at Tierp Arena the low qualifier was Michael Gullqvist with 5.98sec. He was also in a close final one which he lost to Tero Laukkanen. The bump spot (16th position) last time at Tierp was 6.42. This time we anticipate a strike of 5 second runs will occur from top contenders also improvements of personal bests for a few teams that did not manage to show their full potential last season for different reasons.

Fast Freddy Fagerström (near lane) and Anders Nilsson – Pro Modified

Author:   Åsa Kinnemar asa.kinnemar@speedgroup.eu
Photos by Lena Perés, Remco Scheelings and Patrik Jacobsson