Antti Horto, Sandro Bellio and Jan Ericsson winners at season-opening The Main Event at Santa Pod Raceway

Antti Horto raced to victory by defeating rookie and new European record holder Ida Zetterström in an all-Finnish Top Fuel final at Santa Pod Raceway. Jan Ericsson, from Sweden, defeated David Vegter from The Netherlands to take the win in Pro Modified. In the Top Methanol final reigning champion Sandro Bellio took the win and is the leader in the championship after the season-opening race of the 2022 FIA European Drag Racing Championship.

It was a great day of racing at Santa Pod Raceway where the FIA European Drag Racing Championship had its opening round of the 2022 season with The Main Event. In Top Fuel the European record was reset and for the first time in Europe an elapsed time of 3.7 seconds was recorded. In Pro Modified Jan Ericsson reset the European record on Saturday to 5.72 seconds while in Top Methanol Sandro Bellio stormed to a great 5.48 seconds in qualifying.

In the first semifinal of Top Fuel Antti Horto defeated Susanne Callin in a new personal best of 3.808 seconds, only 0.002 seconds short of the European record, to advance to the final.

But a few minutes later it was Ida Zetterström who did break the European record. In a bye run the Top Fuel rookie stormed to a stunning 3.782 seconds, the first 3.7 seconds run in Europe.

In an all Finnish final Horto proved his consistency and recorded another great 3.809 seconds to take the win, as in the other lane Zetterström immediately lost traction at the start line and rolled to the finish. But a runner up position and a European record in the first Top Fuel race ever, is also a great achievement for the racer from Åland.

In Pro Modified the eliminations were filled with many great runs and several upsets. Number one qualifier and new European record holder Jan Ericsson recorded a string of 5.7-second runs to defeat Norbert Kuno, John Tebenham and Bruno Bader to advance to the final.

The reigning FIA European Pro Modified champion had to face David Vegter, from The Netherlands, in the final. De number three qualifier defeated Wayne Nicholson in a great 5,92 seconds, to improve to 5.90 seconds against Kev Slyfield and went even quicker in the semifinal against Andres Arnover to record his first 5.86 seconds of the meeting.

In the final Vegter had the better reaction time, but in the second part of the run Ericsson passed the Dutchman and took the win in another 5.79 seconds, while Vegter recorded 5.90 seconds.

In Top Methanol the number one qualifier, Sandro Bellio, had a bye run in the final as Linn Fløysvik (Norway) had engine problems after a run earlier on the Sunday. The reigning champion from Belgium is the clear favourite to win another European title.

The FIA European Drag Racing Championship continues in August at Tierp Arena, Sweden.

Results: https://santapodresults.com/2022/Main%20Event/

Link to the photo gallery of The Main Event 2022: https://www.dragracingeurope.eu/fiaedc/18378-2/

Text and photos: Remco Scheelings

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