Festival of Power a great success for FIA Championship contenders

With the start of the 2022 FIA European Drag Racing Championship not far off, several teams from this championship took the opportunity to test their updated cars at the Festival of Power, the first round of the British drag racing championship at Santa Pod Raceway. And it was a major success as all three cars of the Rune Fjeld Motorsport stable made several promising runs, with the 3.837 seconds of Ida Zetterström as the highlight. Michel Tooren raised his confidence for the coming season as what was planned to be a test weekend ended with a victory in the first round of the Motorsport UK Pro Modified Championship. 

In only a few weeks the 2022 FIA European Drag Racing Championship kicks off with The Main Event at Santa Pod Raceway. The Easter weekend’s Festival of Power, where the British championships kick off their season, is therefore a great opportunity for teams competing in the FIA European Championship to make some test runs. The Top Fuel teams got the opportunity to make two runs each day, while the Pro Modified teams could enter the first round of the Motorsport UK Pro Modified Championship to make their runs.

Santa Pod Raceway have invested a lot of money to totally resurface the track after the finish line and that takes the track to a next level. The excellent weather and track conditions made the Festival of Power one to remember. And last but not least, it was great to see so many spectators back, leading to sold out grandstands an a packed banking.

In the Top Fuel category all three Rune Fjeld Motorsport cars were at present for testing. It was also the first time Ida Zetterström and Antti Horto could show the stunning new 2022 designs of their cars to the world. Susanne Callin will keep her familiar Slick Tricks Racing colours for the new season.

Ida Zetterström made headlines in September last year when the former Super Street Bike racer laid down the quickest ever licensing pass in the class with 3.86 seconds. The Festival of Power was a great opportunity for her to get familiar with the updated car before things get really serious at The Main Event.

After two test starts on Friday and an early shut off on Saturday, Zetterström stunned again on the Saturday afternoon run. After a great launch and a shut off before the finish line, the clock stopped with 3.837 seconds at ‘only’ 264 mph. The RFM Top Fueler crossed the 1/8 mile after 3.017 seconds at 281 mph, as far we know the quickest 1/8 mile in Europe. It’s very likely that, with a full 1000 foot full pass, that would have been the first 3.7-second run in Europe.

Although Zetterström had to lift early in the two runs on the Sunday due to tyre shake, the Finnish Top Fuel rookie from Åland and her team were happy with the results and she is full of confidence for the start of her first FIA Top Fuel season.

Susanne Callin is already very familiar with her RFM Top Fueler. The Swedish driver also made six runs. Callin ended the weekend on a high as she stormed to a great 4.07 seconds on her final run on Sunday afternoon.

The Swedish driver will also do the full FIA European Championship this season and will fly the familiar colours of Slick Tricks Racing.

Antti Horto will also compete in all rounds of the FIA European Top Fuel Championship. The more experienced driver from Finland will do that in a bright new white and blue design and under the Eagle Top Fuel Racing banner.

As planned Horto made one run each day, with a best of 4.66 seconds on the Saturday. As the history showed, Horto can win where ever he shows up, so the Finn is for sure a favourite to win the 2022 FIA Top Fuel title.

Pro Modified teams that wanted to make their test runs at the Festival of Power were able to enter the first round of the Motorsport UK Pro Modified Championship. Michel Tooren will focus on the FIA European Championship this season and as the Pro Dutch Racing team made some major changes to the updated ’71 Plymouth Barracuda over the winter, they decided to travel to Santa Pod and make as many runs as possible.

What was planned to be a test ended with a result Tooren and his team could only have dreamed of and will be a major boost to their confidence. In the fifth qualifying run Tooren stormed to a great 5.94 seconds, not far from his 5.934-second personal best, and good enough to claim the number one qualifying position.

After a bye run in the quarter finals, Tooren defeated Kev Slyfield in the semi-finals with another great looking 5.96 seconds, to face Nick Davies in the final. On the final run Tooren suffered tyre shake and had to pedal, but his better reaction time saved him against a quicker Davies, and so the trophy went to the Pro Dutch Racing team.

From all other Pro Modified teams at the Festival of Power it is not sure how many rounds of the FIA European Championship they will do, but we will definitely see them back at round one, The Main Event. Andy Robinson has Hockenheim on his provisional calendar. The British driver proved his form by qualifying in the number two position with 5.97 seconds, to record low ET of the weekend in a test run on Sunday afternoon with a great 5.90 seconds.

Jean Dulamon recorded his best time of the weekend in round one of eliminations with 6.00 seconds. The Frenchman will definitely be back for several FIA rounds. Nick Davies, Kev Slyfield, Annie Wallace and Wayne Nicholson will be back for more for at least the two Santa Pod rounds of the FIA Championship.

Text and photos: Remco Scheelings

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