Ida Zetterström, Jan Ericsson, Linn Fløysvik and Michael Malmgren 2023 FIA European Drag Racing champions
Ida Zetterström (Top Fuel), Jan Ericsson (Pro Modified), Linn Fløysvik (Top Methanol) and Michael Malmgren (Pro Stock) claimed the 2023 FIA European Drag Racing Championship titles in their respective categories at the European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway. Zetterström won her title in style by claiming the victory in the final round of the 2023 FIA European Drag Racing Championship as well. Fløysvik secured her title by defeating Sandro Bellio in the semifinals, while Malmgren defeated Stefan Ernryd in the semifinals to win the title. The European Finals event win in Top Methanol and Pro Stock went to Johnny Oksa and Simon Ekengren respectively. In Pro Modified Ericsson retained his title with his Hockenheim win, thus a semifinal finish didn’t hurt the Swede, while David Vegter claimed his first FIA European Championship race win.
It was a long day of racing at a with many fans packed Santa Pod Raceway during the eliminations of the fifth and final round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship. As in qualifying it was once again extremely hot at Santa Pod Raceway. The programme was running smoothly and on time when torrential rain stopped the action around 2 PM. Even after some showers and a period of drizzle, the track crew never gave up and did an amazing job by drying the track. At 7 PM the racing started again and at 9 PM all eliminations were completed.
In Top Fuel the championship was already decided after Ida Zetterström claimed the win at Hockenheim two weeks ago. At Santa Pod the driver from Åland, Finland, racing with a Swedish licence, was once again unstoppable.
After claiming the number one qualifying position in 3.86 seconds, Zetterström advanced to the final to face Susanne Callin, who defeated Jndia Erbacher in the semifinals.
In the final Zetterström stormed to a great 3.91 seconds to claim her third win of the season. Zetterström, driving for RF Motorsport, clinched the FIA European title in what is only her second season in the quickest and fastest category of the championship. During the whole season Zetterström lost only one elimination round.
In the championship Callin finished in second position, with Erbacher third. This makes the top three all-female, a unique fact in motorsport.
In Pro Modified 2022 champion Jan Ericsson retained his title also after claiming the win at Hockenheim. The 2023 championship is the third consecutive title for the driver from Sweden.
At the European Finals Ericsson lost his semifinal run against Mats Eriksson, and that was the first time the Swede was defeated in an elimination round this season. Eriksson, the number four qualifier, was consistent with a string of 5.88-second runs to advance to the final. On the other side of the ladder David Vegter, the number two qualifier, was extremely quick and consistent as well. In the quarter finals Vegter defeated his countryman Michel Tooren in 5.86 seconds, to meet Andres Arnover in the semifinals.
Vegter stormed to another great 5.85 seconds to secure a place in the final and the runner-up position in the championship.
In the final Vegter and Eriksson both ran into problems after the start, but because Vegter got his car immediately under control again, the Dutch racer claimed the win in 6.63 seconds.
It was the first race win for Vegter in the FIA European Championship. In the championship Vegter finished in second position, with Arnover third and Bruno Bader fourth. With drivers from Sweden, The Netherlands, Estonia and Switzerland, Pro Modified once again proved to be the most international category of the FIA European Championship.
In Top Methanol the championship was decided in the semifinals. After a bye run in the quarter finals, 2022 champion and number one qualifier Sandro Bellio had to face Linn Fløysvik, the number one in the championship. Bellio had to win the run and the final to retain his title. At the start line the race was decided as Bellio suffered traction problems. Fløysvik claimed the win in 5.58 seconds to secure her first FIA European Championship.
On the other side of the ladder Johnny Oksa, the number two qualifier, had two bye runs to advance to the final.
In the final just crowned champion Fløysvik suffered traction problems, while Oksa recorded his third mid 5.5-second run of the day, to secure the win, his second consecutive victory after the Finn also won at Hockenheim.
Behind Fløysvik, Bellio finished the 2023 championship in second position, while Oksa jumped into the third position with his Euro Finals win.
In Pro Stock the championship was decided in the semifinals as well. Michael Malmgren had to face championship leader Stefan Ernryd. With a win margin of only 0.02 seconds, Malmgren defeated Ernryd and took over the championship lead. When Robin Norén was defeated in the second semifinal by number one qualifier Simon Ekengren, the 2023 title was for Malmgren.
In the final the new champion was defeated on a holeshot by Ekengren. For Ekengren it was his first win in an FIA European Championship race and with his victory Ekengren jumped into the third position in the championship, with Ernryd second.
Text and photos: Remco Scheelings