Rain beats unstoppable Johnny Oksa at his home track
Johnny Oksa reset his personal best in qualifying at Alastaro to a great 5.66 seconds at 407.54 km/h and was on his way to his second consecutive victory in the FIA European Top Methanol Funny Car Championship. But as he already said at Tierp, ‘only rain can stop me from winning’ , and that’s exactly what happened at his home track, and so Oksa’s FHRA Nitro Nationals ended in the semi-finals.
For Top Methanol Funny Car, the FHRA Nitro Nationals at Alastaro was the second race of their FIA European Championship. After his first ever FIA European Championship win at Tierp Arena, Johnny Oksa was in the winning mood and extra motivated to win at his home track in front of his many local fans. Competition had to come from another local hero, Ari Pietilä and reigning FIA European champion Leif Andreasson, who needed a win to make up some ground to Oksa, the provisional leader in the championship.
With plenty of sunshine and pleasant temperatures, there were almost perfect weather conditions during qualifying for the FHRA Nitro Nationals. From the very first run, Oksa made his intentions loud and clear by starting with 5.87 seconds, followed by 5.83 seconds in the Friday afternoon run. The Finn showed his great form on Saturday by resetting his personal best to 5.661 seconds at 407.54 km/h, also proving that the Alastaro track was in very good condition. Nobody could beat that elapsed time and so, for the second time in a row, Oksa was the number one qualifier.
Pietilä had some mechanical problems on Friday, but improved on his earlier performance on Saturday with 5.93 seconds to end qualifying in second position.
At that moment, Andreasson had already left the track. The reigning champion damaged the heads of his engine in the second run, and as the spare parts were in the States, his Finnish race weekend was over.
With Andreasson out of competition, Oksa and Pietilä had a bye run in the semi-finals. For Oksa that was no reason to calm down. The home favourite showed his consistency and pleased the crowd with another great 5.74 seconds at 407.08 km/h. Pietilä had some problems and crossed the finish line after 12.2 seconds. But then the rain came in and an all Finnish final will have to wait until another race.
Oksa is leading the FIA European Championship after two races with 173 points. Pietilä is second with 98 points, and behind Mikael Larsson, Andreasson is the provisional fourth.
FHRA Nitro Nationals statistics
Low ET: Johnny Oksa, 5.661 seconds
Top speed: Johnny Oksa, 407.54 km/h
Link to final qualifying list and elimination ladder:
Link to championship points standings after the FHRA Nitro Nationals
For more photos see: https://www.dragracingeurope.eu/fiaedc/nitro-nationals-2016/
Text and photos: Remco Scheelings