Johnny Oksa takes his first ever FIA Top Methanol Funny Car win in style
Johnny Oksa had already come close a few times, but at the Tierp Internationals nobody could stop the Finn from winning his first ever FIA European Championship Top Methanol Funny Car race. Oksa did it in style with a number one qualifying position and low ET of the meeting. That he didn’t meet any competition in eliminations, was not his fault, as all his opponents ran into problems, while the Finn stayed out of trouble.
As Top Methanol Funny Car was not contested at The Main Event, the Tierp Internationals was the first round of their FIA European Championship. Qualifying at the state-of-the-art Tierp Arena drag racing facility was badly affected by the rain that plagued the Tierp area on Friday and Saturday. Friday qualifying had to be postponed until the evening, but thanks to the hard working Tierp Arena track crew, the two originally planned qualifying sessions could still be run. Saturday qualifying was washed out completely, but on Sunday, the sun was back and eliminations were contested in almost perfect conditions.
In his first qualifying of the 2016 FIA season, Johnny Oksa immediately made his intention loud and clear at the Tierp Internationals. Despite the ‘green’ and cold Friday evening track, Oksa stormed to 5.80 seconds at 405 km/h. None of the other competitors could even come close to that ET and so the Finn started eliminations from the number one position.
Mikael Larsson idled to the finish line in his first run, but improved to 7.37 seconds on his second run to claim the number two qualifying position.
In his first visit to Tierp Arena since 2012, Jürgen Nagel was third. Reigning FIA European TMFC champion Leif Andreasson only did one run on Friday evening and was fourth. Ari Pietilä in the Panox Dodge was fifth and last.
As the number one qualifier, Oksa had a bye run in the quarter finals, but that was no reason for the Finn to take it easy. In a pretty wild ride and 5.95 seconds at 397 km/h Oksa crossed the finish line. Mikael Larsson had an unexpected bye run when Pietilä’s engine didn’t fire up, handing the win to the Swede who had such an unlucky weekend last year at this event.
The best race of the first round was the one between Nagel and Andreasson. The ETs were close with 5.921 seconds for the reigning champion and 5.939 seconds for the German racer, but as Nagel’s reaction time was 0.23 seconds worse, the race was already decided at the start line.
In the semi-finals Oksa had to face Andreasson. The Disab Dodge seemed to have a problem to get into stage, but then rolled through the lights, handing the win to Oksa on another solo pass.
Larsson had a bye run to the final, but even that is no guarantee for success. In the burn out something went wrong with the engine, causing one of the chutes to deploy. No start in the semi-final means no start in the final and so, like Oksa said, ‘only the weather could stop him from his first FIA win’.
This time the weather was with him and as the rain stayed away just long enough, Oksa took it easy in his bye run to his first ever FIA European Championship Top Methanol Funny Car win. Oksa also wants to run the NitrOlympX, and with three of the four remaining races on his calendar, the Finn is a real title candidate after Tierp.
Tierp Internationals statistics
Low ET: Johnny Oksa, 5.805 seconds
Top speed: Johnny Oksa, 405.41 km/h
Link to final qualifying list:
Link to elimination ladder
Link to championship points standings after the Tierp Internationals
For more photos see:
Text: Remco Scheelings
Photos: Remco Scheelings