Rain brings early end to Tierp Internationals

With the Top Fuelers in the line-up for their semi-finals, it started to rain at Tierp Arena, and with the forecast of more rain to come in the next couple of hours, the race director was left no other decision than to cancel the remaining rounds of the eliminations of the Tierp Internationals, round two of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship. At the moment the race was cancelled, all leaders in the championship after round one at Santa Pod Raceway were still in the race for a second consecutive win.

What a difference a day can make. After two extremely hot qualification days, elimination day of the Tierp Internationals started with much cooler temperatures. Teams and spectators were looking forward to see many great and exciting runs, and thanks to the lower temperatures, stunning elapsed times. But with one elimination round completed in Top Fuel, Top Methanol and Pro Stock, and two in Pro Modified, and the Top Fuelers at the start line for their semi-finals, it started to rain. Until that moment there had been some excellent racing at Tierp Arena.

In Top Fuel number one qualifier Ida Zetterström had a bye run in the first round, lifted before the finish line and still recorded 4.10 seconds.

In a great first round race Stig Neergaard defeated Susanne Callin on a holeshot, as with 3.92 seconds for Callin and 3.97 for Neergaard, the driver from Sweden was quicker in the run.

As Antti Horto defeated Timo Lehtimäki, the reigning champion would have had a bye run in the semi-finals. In the other semi-final Zetterström, winner of the opening round at Santa Pod, leader in the championship and European record holder, had to face Neergaard. But as said before, with the three semi-finalists in the line-up, it started to rain, bringing the eliminations to an early end.

In Top Methanol Silvio Strauch had a bye run in the first round as Jonny Lagg was not able to come back after severe damage in qualifying.

The German driver would have had to race Linn Fløysvik in the semi-final, as the winner from round one at Santa Pod defeated Tony Bryntesson, who had problems when the crew tried to fire-up the car.

Number one qualifier Johnny Oksa defeated Sandro Bellio when the reigning FIA European champion once again ran into problems early on the run. With a bye run in the semi-finals, Oksa would have been in the final.

The Pro Stock class also completed one round. Simon Ekengren defeated Robin Norén, who ran into problems at the start line, and Stefan Ernryd was too quick for Christian Sagelv.

Michael Malmgren stormed to a great 6.57 seconds to defeat Lasse Britsmar, while number one qualifier Jimmy Ålund saw Tommy Leindahl pull a red light.

With Ekengren, Ernryd, Malmgren and Ålund, the top four qualifiers would have raced each other in the semi-finals.

With a 16-car field, Pro Modified was the only class that completed two rounds before the rain came in. There were no major surprises in the first round of eliminations. Michael Gullqvist was the only driver from the top eight qualifiers who didn’t advance to the quarter finals as the multiple champion was defeated by number ten qualifier Michel Tooren.

With 5.8 second runs for David Vegter, Jan Ericsson and Andreas Arthursson and 5.9 second runs for Marck Harteveld (holeshot win over Roger Johansson), Bruno Bader and Jimmy Ålund, the next couple of elimination rounds promised to become close and exciting.

In the quarter finals Arthursson (5.96 seconds) defeated Åke Persson, and as Harteveld pulled a red light, Ålund (5.86 seconds) had an easy win over the Dutch Voodoo Hemi Racing driver.

In what promised to become a close run, Vegter ran into problems, handing the win to Bader, who recorded 5.91 seconds. Reigning champion and winner at Santa Pod, Ericsson recorded another great 5.85 seconds to defeat Tooren, who suffered tyreshake.

In the semi-finals Arthursson would have had to race Bader, but as the driver from Sweden suffered severe engine damage in the quarter finals, Bader would have been in the final. In the other semi-final Ericsson would have had to race Ålund.

The next round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship is in August and once again at Tierp Arena.

All results: https://www.dragracing.eu/results.asp

For photos of the Tierp Internationals see the gallery on: https://www.dragracingeurope.eu/fiaedc/tierp-arena-sweden-june-15-18/

Text and photos: Remco Scheelings

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