FHRA Nitro Nationals – Preview FIA Top Fuel Dragster

Championship leader Anita Mäkelä

Preview FHRA Nitro Nationals July 2-5th – FIA European Drag Racing Championship round #3

FIA Top Fuel Dragster

11 drivers from five nations are on the entry list. Last year we saw a final between Anita Mäkelä Finland and Stig Neergaard, Denmark and one which ended in Neergaards favor. It was an event of tight racing with a low ET during the meeting of 4.32 sec. (Thomas Nataas).

The track was resurfaced the summer 2014 only weeks before the Nitro Nationals and this time we predict ET´s will be lower overall as the track is no longer virgin and the FHRA track crew know their business. In championship lead Anita Mäkelä who has the aim set at her first championship title and so far the team has shown no weaknesses whatsoever.

As tradition bids the field consist of almost 50% Finnish drivers, where Janne Ahonen, is famous also outside drag racing a ski jumping professional. Timo Lehtimäki also makes his first entry for the season as does Antti Horto. Horto youngest in the field (32 years) but having been in the sport since 1995 he is as skilled as anyone.

Stefan Gunnarsson

A rookie in the class is Stefan Gunnarsson Sweden, who makes his second ever competition in the class. The other race car in Gunnarsson´s team, an A fuel dragster with which Stefan normally competes in top methanol dragster is left at home. Another rookie who has left an impression of confidence as if he has been piloting a top fuel dragster forever is UK based driver Liam Jones. And Jones is on a full championship schedule. The same goes for Sweden´s Micke Kågered, who set a new personal best with 4.00 sec at the last event at Tierp Arena and after a few seasons of technical problems the team is competitive and with capacity to win rounds.  Always competitive and also on a full championship schedule are RF Motorsports drivers Jari Halinen Finland and Duncan Micallef from Malta.

The third Swedish driver Björn Mårtensson is an unwritten card. He does his first season as a driver after having had the car for a few years but assigning the driving task to Håkan Fällström, Mårtensson is now licensed to run the car himself.

A minimum of one Finnish driver in the final seems like a safe bet, but with so many cars with similar capacity and skilled drivers, whoever figures the track out already during the first qualification session will have a slight advantage. Then again, with these 10.000 horsepower machines, repetition is not as easy as it sounds!

ENTRIES FHRA NITRO NATIONALS:

FIA Top Fuel Dragster (11)
Janne Ahonen  FIN ART-Top Fuel Dragster
Stefan Gunnarsson  SWE Dragster A-fuel
Jari Halinen  FIN SISU Dragster
Antti Horto  FIN Top Fuel Dragster
Liam Jones  GBR Top Fuel Dragster
Mikael Kågered  SWE Top Fuel Dragster
Timo Lehtimäki  FIN Finlight Dragster
Duncan Micallef  MAL Hadman
Björn Mårtensson  SWE Top Fuel Dragster
Anita Mäkelä  FIN Top Fuel Dragster
Stig Neergaard  DEN TF Dragster

Finlands Jari Halinen at Santa Pod Raceway in May 2015