FIA European Drag Racing Championship

Class Review FIA Main Event – Top Methanol Dragster

Dave Wilson and Dennis Habermann

The Habermanns outstanding, but victory stayed in the UK

Venue: Santa Pod Raceway, UK
Dates: May 22nd-25th 2015

The return to competition of Germany’s Werner Habermann Racing team was among the most exciting news during the pre-season. The family-operated team consists of two almost identical blown Top Methanol Dragsters piloted by brothers Dennis and Timo. At the FIA Main Event the Habermanns gave their competitors a tough time and secured one of the final-round spots after they had raced each other in the semi-final in the quickest and fastest side-by-side TMD match of the entire event. But final victory in championship round #1 stayed in the UK.

Dennis Habermann

Summary Qualifications:

Normal procedure in the FIA Championship means four qualifying sessions scheduled over two days with two sessions per day. Top Methanol Dragster is one class to rely on for delivering stout performances and, with a good track at Santa Pod, the top four cars performed impressively, with the field ranging from 5.33 (Timo Habermann) to 5.48sec. (Jonny Lagg) after qualifying.

Timo Habermann set Low ET on his second run and, after two days and with four sessions completed, Dave Wilson followed at 5.39, Dennis Habermann at 5.46, Lagg at 5.48 and, in fifth place, Stefan Gunnarsson at 6.16. Both Lagg and Gunnarsson had problems – Lagg damaged the heads on each run and his team had to work hard to keep up with the repairs.

Jonny Lagg

Timo Habermann

Summary Eliminations:  The eliminations were run as a five-car field progressive ladder.

Timo Habermann had a bye run into the next round. Timo intentionally idled down the quarter-mile, which is never a crowd-pleaser but saves on parts and service time between runs. And while it’s preferable for competition and crowd-pleasing performance to go hand-in-hand, winning is what it’s all about. Habermann progressed to the semifinal.

Dennis Habermann vs Jonny Lagg:
Dennis Habermann is well-known for his great reaction times and, in this match against Lagg, it was Dennis who left first, reaction time 0.020sec. against Lagg’s 0.128. Lagg’s quickest pass of the weekend could not prevent the loss. At the finish line he was 0.07sec. behind Dennis, losing at 5.44sec. / 261mph. The winning time for Dennis was 5.38sec./268.26mph, which was also Top Speed of the event in the class.

Dave Wilson vs Stefan Gunnarsson:

Both cars seemingly lost cylinders during this run, Gunnarsson´s straight from the start, Wilson further out. Wilson crossed the finish line first in 5.54sec. at 252mph. Gunnarsson followed at 6.31/ 221mph. Wilson moved on to a semi-final bye run.

Dennis Habermann meets Timo Habermann:

As several times in the past, this race between Dennis and Timo was stunningly fast and close. Both had great reaction times, with Dennis away first, .021 to Timo’s .091. Timo had the better 60-foot time, 0.86 compared to 0.93, but while Dennis hit some shake through which he managed to pedal , he was still ahead of Timo at the finish line by a scant 0.04sec. Dennis’s winning ET was 5.33sec. to Timo’s losing 5.35. It was one of the most stunning races of the whole event – what great performers they are.

Dave Wilson

Dave Wilson bye run:
Wilson took advantage of the fact that he did not actually have to reach the finish line to take the win on this bye run, all according to the regulations. After staging and receiving the green light, Wilson shut off and the car was pushed back from the start and towed back to the pits. Wilson had earned himself a place in the final to face Dennis Habermann.

Final: Dave Wilson vs. Dennis Habermann:
An unwanted final-round result for Dennis Habermann, who took too long staging and was timed out by the auto-start system (which is in effect at all FIA championship events). As so often in drag racing, it’s just a matter of seconds that determines outcomes, and so also on this occasion. No time was recorded for Dennis Habermann, while Dave Wilson finished the race at 5.45sec./259mph.

Dave Wilson, winner of the 2015 FIA Main Event. Dennis Habermann runner-up.

Low ET of the event:  Timo Habermann 5.332sec.
Top Speed:  
Dennis Habermann 268.26mph (in round #1 of eliminations)

Link to timing system results Top Methanol Dragster
courtesy of the TSI timing crew

QUALIFICATIONS Top Methanol Dragster
Elimination ladder Top Methanol Dragster

Conclusions & looking ahead to the next championship round;
The organisers at Santa Pod Raceway, Trakbak Racing and Santa Pod Racers Club, provided a good track, the weather was “racecar favorable” and the teams on site delivered more than might fairly be expected at the first event of the season. Runs in the 5.30s and 5.40s once again proved the Top Methanol Dragsters, though few in number, to be the most reliable performers in the championship.

Looking forward, the next round is the Tierp Internationals in Sweden, June 4th-7th. Wilson, who retired from drag racing last year but decided to run at the UK championship round, has the dragster up for sale. This win might just raise his interest level. The Habermann Bros, Jonny Lagg and Stefan Gunnarsson are all entered. At this point they are the only four entrants.

Stefan Gunnarsson and crew

It will be a tough game for Lagg and Gunnarsson to keep up with the Habermanns. Gunnarsson´s team will, I assume, be among the busiest at Tierp, as they are also entered in Top Fuel Dragster. The tuner is the same as for the A/Fuel dragster, Peter Lantz, who has a long history in Top Fuel both as tuner and driver. It is early in the season and the championship has just kicked off and is very much alive in all classes.

Live reports are available through the services of

Author:   Åsa Kinnemar edited by Robin Jackson
   Lena Perés, Remco Scheelings

A special thanks to for providing detailed live reports throughout the event.  

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