The Finals were a real finale in Pro Modified
The Finals were a thrill for everyone that participated, either as a racer, spectator or track crew. But it was a thrill everyone enjoyed somehow. There was a highlight on Saturday when Bruno Bader and Mats Eriksson ran the first side-by-side 5 second Pro Mod run ever at Santa Pod and Mats was the only driver to make every run in the 5’s straight from the trailer on Friday´s first round to the semifinal on Sunday.
But first of all we want to send all our thoughts to Robert Joosten who was supposed to participate in the Finals. As his crewmembers showed up at the track and told us he was serious ill, we all got back to what drag racing is all about, a family who takes care of each other. Even if there is heat at the start line, we all are close friends when it really matters. Therefore we send Robert and his family all our thought and wish him the best of luck in the hardest race he has ever have done, and a wish him a huge win. We expect to see you at the track next season.
The Finals was an exciting weekend as three of the five FIA classes were far from settled. In Pro Modified a battle was expected between Mats Eriksson and Michael Gullqvist. Gullqvist came in to the finals with the lead by just a tiny 3 points.
But during the qualifying sessions the lead was taken by Mats. Four clean and straight 5 sec runs in a row and number one qualifier from Friday morning to Saturday evening gained him in total 20 extra points. In the last qualifying round Gullqvist managed to go from Q16 up to a third place by a 6,05 sec run. But he wasn´t what he used to be at this event.
Others that had a go were Bruno Bader and surprisingly (but nicely so) Thomas Stiefel from Switzerland. He seemed to be just as surprised as any, when he made PB runs all the way through the qualification and ended up as Q5 with a PB time of 6,13 sec /370 km/h.
The team had some help from Adam Flamholc witch they were very thankful for. “I like the team, said Adam who this FIA season been in the Green Goblin team. They have a great car and they are a grateful and happy new team racing in Pro Mod, it’s a pleasure to give them a hand with whatever I can. We need new fresh teams in the Pro Mod class.”
Bruno Bader, like Mats, was in a flow of 5 sec runs. Not as many but quite a few more than earlier this season. In qualifications he did two 5 sec runs on Saturday. And the last round on Saturday Bruno and Mats made history, as they did the first ever side-by-side 5 sec run at Santa Pod. The spectators were overwhelmed. On Friday Bruno made a low 6 and a tire shake round, but for sure he was on track on Saturday.
Sundays Pro Mod elimination started early in order to bring the 16-ladder down to an eight to be at same level as the other FIA classes. Bruno took out Wayne Nicholson in first round with a low 6 sec run.
At last Michael Gullqvist found his old shape. He started off with a 5,90 run vs Chris Isaacs. Thomas Stiefel continued with a steady 6,17 sec run vs Jean Dulamon who had problems getting the car go straight all weekend.
Another guy that was on a roll was Roger Moore. He took out Andy Robinson in the first round. Roger Johansson was struggling a bit during the qualifications but eventually beat Gullqvist in the list by one spot, ending up as number three qualifier with his 6.04 sec round.
Roger raced the only girl in the field, Paula Atkin, in the first session. Paula is the first female since Linda Thun Tønseth to drive Pro Mod. It´s just about time the girl’s stepped forward in Pro Mod again, so good on you Paula.
In the second round Mats was out first vs Rick Garrett and again Mats kicked off a 5 sec round, making it six in a row. Gullqvist and Stiefel raced next and Gullqvist had really found the window as he did a 5.91 sec round. Stiefel was still steady at 6.15 sec. Great for this team to round off their first year of FIA Pro Mod.
The next race was the battle of the Rogers, and Moore had more, getting to the finish line first ahead of Johansson. Bruno vs Vegter and Bruno made a 6,00 sec round. He is also steady as a rock and been lowering his times consistently during the season. Vegter has had problems getting his power down this season, but we all hope he finds a way next season as we want him back on track.
Next round was a thrill for Mats and Michael as they faced each other, and the winner would be the champ this year. Mats was in lead with 11 points at this stage but he had to beat Gullqvist in this one. Both fast drivers and Mats had been very consistent at this event, which made Michael a bit nervous.
Probably all Pro Mod lovers at the grandstand, bank and at the screens all over the world were holding their breath in this one. It could have been the race of the year, with a tight low 5 sec side-by-side run. But sadly Mats hit a red light by just 0.0064 sec! So close, but on the wrong side. This is what drag racing is about. Thousandths of a second and no way back.
Next up was Roger Moore vs Bruno Bader. And there was the next upset. Bruno was leaking oil and was pushed back before the burn-out.
So in the finals we had Michael Gullqvist vs Roger Moore. As Roger have a bit slower car this was Michael’s race al through with a 5,97 round vs Rogers 6,51 sec.
All in all this was a great finish of a fantastic season. It´s been tight at the top throughout the season, which has made it very exciting all the way; we got new drivers in the class and we hear there are more to come next year. Michael Gullqvist took back the FIA Championship title, but only just. Mats and team worked their way up from the tenth place to no 2, which is a good job to do. Bruno also progressed from 5th to 3rd place. Tero Laukkanen, who sadly couldn’t participate in the Finals, ended up in 4th place which is very good. Another racer that didn’t come to the finals this year is Anders Nilsson who ended up in 7th place. Anders lost position through not attending the finals, so next year they doing the whole FIA series.
And it seems, as said before, there are more teams to come. So the future for the Pro Modified class feels safe for the coming season. Now the celebration and party season is coming up. 28th of November we start off with the EDRS banquet in Stockholm, where we hope all EDRS and FIA teams will come for a great get-together event.
Link to full results:
Final qualifications list
Points standing 2015
Text & Photos: Lena Perés