Class Review FIA Main Event – Top Methanol Funny Car
Leif Andreasson photo by Remco Scheelings
Venue: Santa Pod Raceway, UK
Dates: May 22nd-25th 2015
Andreasson in championship lead leaving Santa Pod
The Top Methanol Funny Car class has struggled for contestants in recent years and did so again at this season’s opening event. While reigning champion Johan Lindberg has chosen to join the championship for round #2 at Tierp, the runner-up in the 2014 championship, Leif Andreasson from Sweden, was on site and in good form. He was accompanied by the only female driver in the class, UK-based Stephanie Milam, and veteran Jürgen Nagel from Germany. Unfortunately the fourth entered driver, Danny Bellio from Belgium, had to cancel after having more or less wrecked the engine during a test run just days before the event.
Summary of Qualifications:
Normal procedure in the FIA Championship means four qualifying sessions are scheduled over two days, with two sessions per day.
If the Top Methanol Funny Car class suffers from low entry numbers, luckily it´s not matched by a low level of performance, as Leif Andreasson demonstrated during session #2, running 5.74sec. at 250mph. Leif had been obliged to sit out the first session owing to a tech issue which was resolved for session #2. Milam and Nagel were not up to their normal standards during their first race day of the season, but both managed 5-second runs during day two of qualifications.
A few years back, it might have seemed unlikely that Milam would run in the 5-second range at every event, but today I don´t think anyone questions the She Devil’s capacity to do just that. Steph is by now a very skilled driver and husband David (also a former driver) sure knows how to tune a methanol car. And in session #3, there it was: Milam crossed the finish line in 5.91sec. at a speed of 232mph, and was joined by Nagel who clocked 5.96sec. at 227mph.
However they could do little to combat Andreasson. During the second day of qualifying the Swede improved his ET to 5.69sec., an ET that would please 90% of the TMFC teams in Europe, but Andreasson Motorsport has proved its ability time after time to lay down the 5.5´s. The question is not if they can deliver it again, only when…
Eliminations were run in the form of a three-car field progressive ladder.
Leif Andreasson enjoyed a bye run which he used to find out his Chevrolet Monte Carlo´s potential and earn himself the lane choice for the next round. The ET of 5.64sec. at 253mph was an improvement.
While Milam’s funny car managed a 6.10 against Nagel, the race was lost on the startline. Nagel’s better reaction time paid off and, despite a somewhat modest elapsed time of 6.21sec., he outran Milam by 0.07 seconds at the finish and was thus granted a place in the final.
Leif Andreasson vs. Jürgen Nagel
Andreasson led off the start line with a 0.95 reaction time fractionally ahead of Nagel’s 0.98. What might have been another 5sec. run for Jürgen Nagel did not materialise. Nagel´s car hit shake and he shut off early. While Nagel reached the finish line in 13 seconds, Andreasson ran a decent elapsed time of 5.70sec. at 246mph.
Leif Andreasson, winner of the 2015 FIA Main Event. Jürgen Nagel runner-up.
Conclusion & looking ahead towards the next championship round:
The organisers at Santa Pod Raceway provided a good track, the weather was “race car favorable” and the teams on site delivered performances in the 5sec. range which were certainly not bad for the first event of the season.
Milam and Nagel will not attend the next round in Sweden, the Tierp Internationals, June 4th-7th. Instead other Nordic-based drivers will join the championship. There are currently five drivers entered, following Danny Bellio’s withdrawal due to that engine damage. The 2014 champion Johan Lindberg will be there, as will the two young Finnish drivers, Ari Pietilä and Johnny Oksa. Oksa is the son of Finnish funny car veteran Jaarmo Kuutniemi who sadly passed away in 2012. With a PB of 5.78, Oksa is a driver who can win rounds. Pietilä has run in the 5.80´s before as has Sweden´s Mikael Larsson in the Dodge Avenger, also entered. Live reports of the Tierp Internationals are available through the services of Eurodragster.com
Low ET of the event: Leif Andreasson 5.642 sec
Top speed: Leif Andreasson 253.78 mph (408.33 kmh)
Author: Åsa Kinnemar email@example.com Edited by Robin Jackson
Photographers: Lena Perés, Remco Scheelings, Patrik Jacobsson