Anita Mäkelä, Michael Gullqvist, Sandro Bellio and Jimmy Ålund winners at season-opening The Main Event at Santa Pod Raceway
Anita Mäkelä from Finland raced to victory by defeating Maja Udtian from Norway in a new European record in an all-female Top Fuel final at Santa Pod Raceway. Michael Gullqvist from Sweden defeated his countryman Mats Eriksson to take the win in Pro Modified, while multiple FIA European Pro Stock champion Jimmy Ålund took the win in Pro Stock by beating Michael Malmgren in the final. In the Top Methanol final Sandro Bellio was too quick for Monty Bugeja and is the leader in the championship after the season-opening race of the 2019 FIA European Drag Racing Championship.
Due to some rain interruptions during the day, eliminations of The Main Event at Santa Pod Raceway were completed at 8 PM. But again it was worth waiting because the eliminations of the first round of the 2019 FIA European Drag Racing Championship were exciting with many surprising outcomes.
In Top Fuel number one qualifier and reigning FIA European champion Anita Mäkelä advanced to the final after defeating Mikael Kågered in the first round of eliminations and Jndia Erbacher in an all-female semi-final. On the other side of the eliminations ladder number six qualifier Maja Udtian surprised with a win over last year’s Main Event winner Stig Neergaard.
The 21-year old Norwegian Top Fuel rookie had to face Rune Fjeld Motorsport teammate Liam Jones in the semi-final. The number two qualifier from the United Kingdom pulled a red light, handing the win to Udtian. With Mäkelä and Udtian the opening round of the 2019 FIA European Top Fuel Championship had an all-female final.
In the final Mäkelä stormed to a stunning and winning 3.842 seconds, a new European record. Udtian had problems on the start line when she couldn’t get her car out of reverse and had to stop the engine, handing the win to the reigning champion from Finland.
In Pro Modified the eliminations were filled with major upsets. Number one qualifier David Vegter won his first round but couldn’t get his car ready in time for the second round. The same was true for number two qualifier Jan Ericsson who couldn’t come back for the semi-finals. There was more luck for number six qualifier and multiple champion Michael Gulqvist. The Swede advanced to the final after defeating Nick Davies and Andreas Arthursson (red light) and a bye run in the semi-final. Mats Eriksson was the number nine qualifier but advanced to the final after a win over Marck Harteveld, a bye run in the quarter final and a win over Jimmy Ålund in the semi-final.
In the final Eriksson left far too early, handing the win to Gullqvist who improved to a great 5.83 seconds.
In Pro Stock number one qualifier Michael Malmgren didn’t make any mistakes and had to face number two qualifier Jimmy Ålund in the final. Ålund, a 10-time FIA European Pro Stock champion, took the win over Malmgren in 6.59 seconds.
In Top Methanol Monty Bugeja from Malta defeated former champion Jonny Lagg in the semi-final and had to face number one qualifier Sandro Bellio in the final, as the Belgian driver had a bye run in his semi-final. In the final Bellio proved his great form of the weekend and stormed to a winning 5.53 seconds.
The FIA European Drag Racing Championship continues in two weeks, June 6-9 with the Tierp Internationals at Tierp Arena in Sweden.
Link to the photo gallery of The Main Event 2019: https://www.dragracingeurope.eu/fiaedc/santa-pod-raceway-uk-may-24-27th-2019/