FIA European Drag Racing Championship

Class Review FIA Main Event – Top Fuel Dragster

Anita Mäkelä

Anita Mäkelä rules at Santa Pod FIA Main Event

Game, set and match in Top Fuel for Anita Mäkelä at the Main Event at Santa Pod Raceway, the opening round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship. From the number one qualifying position Mäkelä reset the European ET record to 3.912 seconds in the first round of eliminations to claim victory with a string of 3-second runs. Although the rest of the Top Fuel field was close together, the Finnish crowd favourite was in a class of her own as she was the only one to run into the 3 seconds and break the 300 mph barrier. 

Cool air and perfect track conditions at Santa Pod Raceway in qualifying and during eliminations for the Main Event made it possible for the teams to show what they were capable of.

Anita Mäkelä


Qualifying was already an indication of what was to come from the Sami Lehtimäki and Dom Lagana tuned Anita Mäkelä Top Fueler. In a stunning 3.96 seconds, the Finnish crowd favourite took the number one qualifying position and was the only one to break the 4-second barrier. As expected, Stig Neergaard came close and his 4.04-second pass was good enough to jump into second qualifying position. A good qualifying too for Duncan Micallef, as in third position (4.09 seconds) the Maltese driver was the first of four Rune Fjeld Motorsport drivers.

Liam Jones

The two rookie Top Fuel drivers Liam Jones and Birgitte Bremnes had to do their last license pass in qualifying. Both impressed with solid runs. Jones’ 4.11 seconds handed the RFM driver position four. The 23-year-old Bremnes was only 0.12 seconds behind, but as the field was very close, she ended qualifying behind Jari Halinen and Micke Kågered in seventh position. In the Erbacher Racing car, Tethys had to deal with some mechanical problems and was eighth.

Birgitte Bremnes


Quarter finals

In the first round of eliminations Mäkelä stormed to a stunning 3.912 seconds, reset the European Top Fuel record and was too fast for local hero Tethys. Jones was defeated by RFM teammate Halinen and so both British drivers were out of the race. The first round of eliminations also made an early end to the Top Fuel debut of Bremnes, as the Norwegian racer was defeated by Neergaard. A major improvement for Kågered as the reigning champion reset his personal best to 4.02 seconds to defeat Micallef. In his run the Maltese driver had some serious traction problems and even touched the wall with his right rear tyre.

Semi-final Anita Mäkelä and Jari Halinen


In the all Finnish semi-final another 3.9 second run for Mäkelä (3.922), a back-up for the European record, proved too fast for Halinen in the Sisu dragster. And as impressive as the time, was the 305.86 mph speed of the Lagana tuned dragster. In the other semi-final Kågered couldn’t improve on his first round performance and saw Neergaard cross the finish line first.

Stig Neergaard


After such a great and record setting weekend the Main Event deserved a great final. But alas, the final was decided before the light turned green as Neergaard was stopped by a fuel leak when he came back from the burn out. But that was no reason for Mäkelä to cruise to victory. In 3.98 seconds the Finnish chicken farmer stormed to the third 3-second pass of the day. A well-deserved win for the Finnish team that was fastest all weekend.

Anita Mäkelä and Stig Neergaard

Next round

The FIA European Drag Racing Championship will continue at Tierp Arena in Sweden June 5-7. Mäkelä will do everything she can to defend her lead, but will have to do that without Dom Lagana, as the American tuner has other commitments. With nine entrants one competitors will already see their race end after qualifying. Multiple champion Urs Erbacher will start his season at Tierp. Another racer who will have his first race of the season is Swede Björn Mårtensson. For Stefan Gunnarsson, Tierp will be his first ever Top Fuel race as the Top Methanol Dragster racer will debut a dragster he bought from England. With driving duties in two classes, the Swede (and his team) will have a busy weekend. Tethys and Bremnes will not race at Tierp.

Main Event statistics

Low ET: Anita Mäkelä 3.912 seconds
Top speed: Anita Mäkelä 305.86 mph
New European ET record:  Anita Mäkelä 3.912 seconds

Link to timing system results Top Fuel Dragster:

Text & Photos: Remco Scheelings

Micke Kågered

Duncan Micallef

Jari Halinen


Anita Mäkelä

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