Ida Zetterström, Jan Ericsson, Sandro Bellio and Simon Ekengren number one qualifiers at European Finals
Ida Zetterström (Top Fuel), Sandro Bellio (Top Methanol), Jan Ericsson (Pro Modified) and Simon Ekengren (Pro Stock) claimed the number one qualifying positions at the European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway in England and will lead their respective categories into Sunday’s eliminations at the fifth and final round of the 2023 FIA European Drag Racing Championship.
After a stunning night session on the first day of qualifying, the second day of qualifying for the European Finals was spectacular as well. Under extremely hot conditions the numerous spectators in the packed grandstands saw many great runs, even though the teams had to deal with the conditions on the hottest day in England so far this year. But the drivers didn’t disappoint the spectators at all. Ida Zetterström, Jan Ericsson and Sandro Bellio remained the number one qualifiers with their ETs from Friday. In Pro Stock Simon Ekengren surprised with a new number one ET. But in all classes the fields are extremely close together.
In Top Fuel Ida Zetterström was not able to improve her great Friday qualifying run of 3.866 seconds. But it was enough for the new crowned 2023 FIA European Top Fuel champion to remain the number one qualifier.
On her final run Susanne Callin stormed to a great 3.96 seconds to claim the number two position. Jndia Erbacher, Friday’s number two qualifier, improved to 4.22 seconds, but the driver from Switzerland dropped into the number three position.
Duncan Micallef, from Malta, suffered engine damage on his first run of the day and had to skip the final round. The former champion will now have to face Zetterström in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
Qualifying in Pro Modified was once again spectacular. Friday leader Jan Ericsson remained the number one qualifier with his 5.824 seconds from the evening session.
But there was a major improvement for David Vegter as the Dutch driver stormed to a great 5.855 seconds to jump into the number two position. Vegter was the most consistent driver on Saturday and that is promising for the number two in the championship for Sunday’s eliminations.
Andres Arnover dropped one position and is the number three qualifier with his Friday ET of 5.875 seconds. There was also a major improvement for Mats Eriksson. The Swede recorded 5.902 seconds to take over the number four position, with Jimmy Ålund fifth (5.909 seconds) and Marck Harteveld sixth (5.922 seconds).
Bruno Bader, the number three in the championship and in 11th position on the Friday, improved to 5.957 seconds to jump into the number eight spot. With 11 drivers in the 5-second zone and the number sixteen qualifier still recording 6.24 seconds, eliminations will be exciting.
In Top Methanol Sandro Bellio remained the number one qualifier with his Friday ET of 5.533 seconds.
Johnny Oksa had some traction problems, couldn’t improve his ET of 5.550 seconds and remained in second position.
Championship leader Linn Fløysvik bounced back from her severe engine damage on Friday to storm to a great 5.552 seconds, only 0.002 seconds short of Oksa to jump into the number three qualifying position. Tony Bryntesson finished qualifying in fourth position, while Silvio Strauch, the number three in the championship and also the number three qualifier on the Friday, dropped into fifth position
On his last run of the day Simon Ekengren stormed to a great 6.688 seconds to take over the number one qualifying position from Michael Malmgren. The difference between the number one and two was only 0.001 seconds!
Stefan Ernryd improved to 6.70 seconds and is close behind in third position. There was a major improvement for Robin Norén, but the number three in championship remained in fourth position with his 6.720 seconds from his Saturday run.
Eliminations for the European Finals will start on Sunday morning.
Qualifying results: https://santapodresults.com/2023/European%20Finals/Final/
Text and photos: Remco Scheelings