Sandro Bellio looking for more after his 2017 dream debut season
Sandro Bellio made a stormy entrance in the FIA European Top Methanol ranks last season. The young Belgian won his debut race, finished runner-up in the second race, to win again and fall only 0.023 seconds short of the European record in his third outing with the family run Chevy Monte Carlo. This season Bellio wants to exceed this stunning debut season with an assault on the FIA European Top Methanol crown.
It was only shortly before the start of the 2017 season that Danny Bellio decided to hand over the hot seat of the Danny’s Racing Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo to his son Sandro. As a result, Sandro Bellio had to do his licencing runs at The Main Event. His experience in his own Super Pro ET Funny Car paid off, as licencing was no problem, but according to the rulebook, he couldn’t take part in the first round of the FIA European Championship and couldn’t score points while upgrading his licence.
The Tierp Internationals was his first FIA European Championship race and Bellio took the Top Methanol world by surprise with a string of 5.5-second runs, the number one qualifying position and a win! With a family run business at home and some problems with the rear axle of the car, Danny’s Racing Team skipped the Finnish round at Alastaro. At Hockenheim they were back, and finished as the runner-up as an engine problem popped up after the burn out of the final.
A week later at Tierp Arena Bellio stunned the crowd with another win, made history by breaking the 5.5-second barrier and recording 5.449 seconds, only 0.023 seconds short of Jonnie Lindberg’s 5.426-second European record, set at Santa Pod in September 2013. Back at Santa Pod, The European Finals were Bellio’s least successful race of his debut season with a quarter final exit. Even after missing two of the six events, Bellio finished his first season as the number four in the FIA European Top Methanol Championship.
Although it was a surprise for many that the Monte Carlo could run so consistent and almost record setting numbers, it was no surprise at all for the Bellios. A few years ago, with Danny behind the wheel, they knew they had the right combination and setup, but bad luck and issues with parts hampered the family run entry. Last year they opened Dyno Unlimited, a testing facility for engines up to 4,000 bhp, and after some test runs, the data showed them that they were on the right way to find a record setting setup. They proved it on the tracks and the rest is history.
But now, in his sophomore season in the FIA European Top Methanol Championship, Bellio wants to exceed his instant success. “We will do the full FIA tour, including Finland. We don’t want to miss the points we needed for the championship last year. We had some more test sessions on the dyno a few weeks ago and some small changes made a pretty big difference. We also updated the clutch and we think that will make a difference as well. We are very confident and looking forward to a new season. We wanted to test a few things at The Festival of Power at Santa Pod, but as the car was not ready in time, we skipped the Easter meeting and will now go to the test day before The Main Event,” said Sandro Bellio, hard at work in the family run garage and shop Danny Cars in Houthalen, Belgium. Will Sandro Bellio be the first FIA European champion in drag racing from Belgium and will Lindberg’s record fall? In a few months we will know.