The Pro Stock Championship heats up at Alastaro
After record breaking performances at the first two rounds of the season, even the most cautious would have been tempted to put money on Jimmy Ålund in Finland, but if you had taken that bet, you would have lost. Not only did the nine time European champion qualify in an uncharacteristically low fourth place, he was eliminated in round one. When Pro Stock turns cruel, it turns really cruel. The rest of the top four in the championship suffered mixed fortunes, Michael Malmgren was also eliminated in round one, whilst Thomas Lindström went out in the semis. Magnus Petersson made it to another final, but the glory of the weekend went to Richard “Nixxon” Sundblom who won at his home track in his first event of the year.
The number one qualifier in round one was Hannu Kalliomäki in a Jerry Bickel built Pontiac GXP which was previously campaigned by Greg Stanfield in NHRA. This is a first competitive outing for this car and it delivered a none too shabby 6.79 run to take the top spot.
Second place, with almost the exact same time was Jan Ericsson with a PB in competition. Struggling to get to grips with the extremely hot weather conditions were Magnus, Jimmy and Michael, none of whom delivered representative numbers. In the middle, the remaining cars ran in between 6.79 and 7.4. Obviously the heat was going to be something that would affect the qualifiers more than they may have considered.
In Q2 Sundblom re set the number one time and stayed there for the remainder of the qualifying runs gradually improving and always staying number one.
Second and third places were traded throughout qualifying between Ericsson, Malmgren, Ålund and Kalliomäki. With the final top two being Sundblom and Kalliomäki.
Richard Sundblom defeated Simon Gustaffson in round one as Richards famous top end speed and power simply defeated the Samantha racing entry.
Jan Ericsson’s good weekend continued as he added the scalp of none other than Jimmy Ålund in his first competition round win as Ålund continued to struggle with the conditions and hit tyre shake, whilst Ericsson drove through the traps in a representative 6.8.
Hannu Kalliomäki was unable to find his qualifying speed and hit some shake as in the lane beside him Magnus Petersson hit a 0.05 light and drove through in 6.7 to take the win.
Michael Malmgren gifted the round one win to Thomas Lindström with a 0.01 red light which was a shame as the race would have gone his way as he ran a 6.73 alongside Lindström’s 7.76
Richard Sundblom dodged a bullet against Jan Ericsson as Nixxon ran 18 seconds, but Ericsson failed to record a time. Tyre shake and off the throttle for Nixxon, but he progressed to the final nonetheless.
Thomas Lindström also hit massive shake and got off the pedal to allow Magnus Petersson through for the win in 6.7 seconds
The final was an extremely close race between Petersson and Sundblom. Petersson got away first and stopped the clock at 6.78 whilst Sundblom used his top end power to drive past Petersson and take the stripe in 6.72.
Brief conclusion/ looking ahead towards next event
Leaving Finland as a first round loser has eroded Ålund’s lead to just 14 points over Lindstrom whilst Petersson has moved into the third place just 44 points off the lead. Malmgren is in fourth place a further 20 points behind Petersson. The Pro Stock cars will not attend the Nitrolympics event in Germany in 2015, and so there are only two rounds remaining of the championship. With 20 points for a round win, all eyes will be on who can go the most rounds in Tierp in August, but it looks as though we are set up for another close run finish to the championship in England in September.
Low ET of the event: Richard Sundblom 6.659
Highest speed: Jimmy Ålund 210.6 mph (338.96 kmh)
Records set: none
Link to full results:
Final qualifications list and Elimination ladder
Link to championship points standing after the FHRA Nitro Nationals
Author: Ian Hart email@example.com
Photos: Remco Scheelings