Rain brings early end to opening round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship
Rain brought an early end to The Main Event at Santa Pod Raceway, the opening round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship. After an exciting first round of all FIA classes with several surprising results, and the quarter finals of Pro Modified, rain made it impossible to continue racing and finish the first race meeting of the year in the most prestigious drag racing championship of Europe.
After two sunny days with good conditions and great qualifying, the weather was not with the racers at Santa Pod Raceway, England. Eliminations day of The Main Event started with cloudy but almost prefect conditions for great elapsed times in all four categories of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship. The first round of eliminations proved that the air was almost perfect, but with the Pro Modified cars in the line-up for their quarter finals it started to rain. After a long delay, the Pro Modified class could finally run their quarter finals before the rain was back again and brought an early end to The Main Event.
In Top Fuel number one qualifier Liam Jones had a bye run to advance to the semi-finals where the home favourite should have faced Stig Neergaard.
The Danish runner-up in last year’s FIA European Top Fuel Championship was too quick for multiple FIA champion Urs Erbacher from Switzerland. A major upset in the first round was that number two qualifier and reigning FIA European Top Fuel champion Anita Mäkelä was defeated by number seven qualifier Duncan Micallef. The Rune Fjeld Motorsport driver from Malta stormed to a stunning 3.99 seconds at 302 mph to defeat the Finnish fan favourite.
Antti Horto proved that the Rune Fjeld Motorsport team had the right set-up for the Santa Pod track as the Finn recorded 3.97 seconds, the quickest elapsed time of the weekend to defeat Mikael Kågered.
After a seventh position in qualifying, FIA European Pro Modified champion Michael Gullqvist had sorted out the right set-up for eliminations. In the first round of eliminations the Swede stormed to a stunning 5.93 seconds to advance to the quarter finals. In the quarter finals Gullqvist had to face Bruno Bader. In a close race Gullqvist defeated the Swiss number three from the 2016 championship and recorded another great 5.95 seconds.
In the other quarter final Jimmy Ålund improved to 5.96 seconds to defeat Bobby Wallace and should have faced Marcus Hilt in the semi-finals. The Swiss driver surprised Norbert Kuno and number four qualifier Kev Slyfield to advance to the semi-finals.
In the last quarter final David Vegter improved to 6.13 seconds, defeated Wayne Nicholson and advanced to the semi-finals where he should have faced Gullqvist.
In Top Methanol number one qualifier Dennis Habermann had a bye run to advance to the semi-finals. His brother Timo Habermann defeated Rod Harrison to advance to the semi-finals.
There was a major upset in the quarter final where Funny Car driver Stephanie Milam had to face the dragster of Jonny Lagg. The local hero improved to 6.04 seconds and defeated the reigning champion from Sweden. In the semi-finals Milam should have faced Dennis Habermann.
In Pro Stock the number one and two qualifiers, Bengt Ljungdahl and Thomas Lindström had no problems and advanced to the semi-finals. In this semi-final Ljungdahl should have faced Michael Malmgren as the number four qualifier defeated Magnus Petersson in the first round.
A major upset on the other side of the elimination ladder as the number six qualifier Simon Gustafsson defeated the number three qualifier Stefan Ernryd with a much better reaction time. Before Gustafsson could surprise again against Lindström, rain brought an early end to The Main Event.
The FIA European Drag Racing Championship continues June 15-18 with the Tierp Internationals at Tierp Arena in Sweden.
For all Main Event results: http://www.santapod.co.uk/track/Results/2017/Main%20Event/
Link to the championships standings:
More photos from The Main Event can be found at:
For pit notes see eurodragster.com: