The NitrOlympX, round three of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship
The 2022 FIA European Drag Racing Championship is at the halfway point of the season and with the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals at Tierp Arena just finished, it’s time for the famous NitrOlympX at the Rico Anthes Quartermile of the HockenheimRing. Ida Zetterström (Top Fuel), Sandro Bellio (Top Methanol), Jan Ericsson (Pro Modified) and Robin Norén (Pro Stock) are the current leaders, but in Germany they will meet some tough and sometimes even new competition.
After a 2-year break, the FIA European Drag Racing Championship returns to the famous Rico Anthes Quartermile of the HockenheimRing. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the German fans have had to wait three years to see the quickest and fastest drag racing vehicles again. But now they are back and ready to break records.
Ida Zetterström claimed her first victory at Tierp Arena, and the Top Fuel rookie and current European ET record holder is also leading the championship.
But the gap to Antti Horto, the winner of the opening round at Santa Pod Raceway, is only six points.
Susanne Callin is the number three in the title race and the driver of the Slick Tricks Racing dragster will be out for revenge after her bad luck at Tierp.
The three title contenders will get some tough competition from ‘home favourite’ Jndia Erbacher. The NitrOlympX is the only race this season for the Swiss driver and she will do everything she can to impress in preparation for a full FIA season in 2023. For Dennis Nilsson it is also his first appearance in an FIA race this season. The Swede made some test runs at Mantorp Park and is now ready to surprise.
Reigning champion Sandro Bellio is leading the championship, but the winner of The Main Event damaged his Monte Carlo Funny Car in a fire in qualifying at Tierp Arena. This could have been the end of the title race for the Belgian team, but as they never give up, they started the rebuild of the heavily damaged car the next day, and as things look now, Bellio will be back in action at Hockenheim.
Linn Fløysvik from Norway scored valuable points in England and Sweden and she is looking for her first win and the lead in the championship. The two Funny Cars will meet tough competition from three dragsters.
First of all there is former champion and runner-up at Tierp, Jonny Lagg. Tony Bryntesson, from Sweden as well, had some problems earlier this season, but will try to bounce back in Germany.
Last but not least there is home favourite Silvio Strauch. For the German racer the NitrOlympX is his first appearance in the 2022 championship, but as he impressed before, there shouldn’t be a major problem to shine.
Jan Ericsson is the leader in Pro Modified, but as the reigning champion was defeated in the quarter finals at Tierp, it will definitely not be a walkover for the Swede this season.
Marck Harteveld is the surprising number two in the championship, 53 points behind Ericsson. The Dutch Voodoo Hemi Racing driver had an unlucky first round exit in England, but bounced back with a runner-up finish at Tierp. Harteveld surprised before at Hockenheim and will try to do that again.
Three points short of Harteveld, David Vegter is the number three in the title race. Vegter will be out for revenge after he had to shut off the engine of his quick and fast Camaro after the burn out of round one at Tierp.
Andres Arnover, from Estonia, scored valuable points in England and Sweden and is the number four, only one point short of Vegter. A bit further behind in the championship, but trying to gain some positions in Germany, are Bruno Bader from Switzerland (6th), number one qualifier at Tierp Mats Eriksson from Sweden (7th), and Michel Tooren from The Netherlands (8th).
It’s great to see Andy Robinson back in the championship race. The driver from the UK skipped the race at Tierp, but was almost unbeatable so far this season in the Motorsport UK Pro Modified Championship. With a good result at Hockenheim and the European Finals at Santa Pod still to come, Robinson can still go for a top spot in the FIA Championship. Roger Johansson had a far from trouble free season so far, but if the Swede has solved his engine problems, he can surprise the title favourites. Also from Sweden comes Marcus Perman.
From France comes Jean Dulamon, who also suffered engine damage earlier this season and will be looking for some trouble free runs. With Marcus Hilt and Peter Wacker there are two more drivers from Switzerland in the field, while Germany has three home favourites with Norbert Kuno, Ingo Ekert and Walter Strobel.
After his win at Tierp Arena, Robin Norén is the leader in Pro Stock. But the talented driver from Sweden will not go for the championship. Norén’s new Pontiac GXP arrived very late in Sweden and the team decided early in the season to use 2022 as a test year to be able to go for the FIA title in 2023. Although the tests went better than expected, and they won the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals at Tierp, they will stick to their plan.
The good news is that the numbers two, three and four in the championship will all be at Hockenheim. Michael Malmgren is back to form, was the runner-up at Tierp and the current number two in the championship.
Jimmy Ålund is only 11 points behind and after the multiple champion was surprisingly defeated by Norén in the semi-finals at Tierp, he will be out for revenge.
Stefan Ernryd is the number four in the championship. The MOPAR man stepped up his performance once again this season, but has been unlucky at the decisive moments so far.
Qualifying for the NitrOlympX will start on Friday August 26th and will continue on Saturday August 27th . Eliminations will start on Sunday morning August 28th .
Text and photos Remco Scheelings