FIA European Drag Racing Championship

Class Review FIA Scandinavian Internationals – Pro Stock Car – All change at the top

Thomas Lindström

Class Review FIA Scandinavian Internationals  –  Pro Stock Car

Venue: Tierp Arena, Sweden
Dates: Aug 20-23rd 2015

All change at the top

Short introduction:
Any close observer to European Pro Stock racing would have expected Jimmy Ålund to arrive at Tierp Arena with all guns blazing.  Tierp after all is where Jimmy set the current European Speed and ET records.  The Blue Camaro has run NHRA type speed and ET at this track before, and one would have expected it to do so again.  The weather in Sweden has been relatively poor for most of the 2015 summer, but the forecast for the event was hot and sunny, the track was in top condition and ticket sales were at record levels.  Everything pointed towards a quick and fast qualification perhaps even quicker and faster than the previous record, also set at Tierp, of a 7.8 bump spot.  Ten cars would compete for the eight car ladder and the quality of the field promised excellence in every session. 

Richard Sundblöm

Summary Qualifications:
The number one qualifier in round one was Richard Sundblöm with a fantastic off the trailer first lap of 6.58.  Richard was delighted with this performance and said that everything on the run was a personal best, from the awesome 0.97 sixty foot time through to the accuracy and speed of the gear changes.  ”I can still go better if the car will go straighter” said Richard.  Second place was taken by Magnus Petersson in the PB Racing Pontiac GTO previously campaigned by points leader Jimmy Ålund.  Magnus also had a long drive to the finish line as he seemed to have a magnetic attraction to the wall, but he held on out of the groove to record a time of 6.71.  Thomas Lindström took the third place point with a pretty soft pass of 6.67.  The remainder of the qualifying spots were taken by Simon Gustafsson (6.723) Jan Ericsson (6.939), Christian Sagelv (7.080) Bengt Ljungdahl (7.141) and Sampsa Palos (8.955).  Not qualified at the end of the first session were Michael Malmgren and Jimmy Ålund who both hit bad tyre shake before 60ft and were forced to get off the pedal.

Jan Ericsson

Jan Ericsson broke an exhaust valve on his lap in Q1.  The team decided to fix this engine in the pits so that they could be sure it was working well before the end of the event.  This decision was based on the short amount of time between this event and the finals at Santa Pod.  Jan said ”with work commitments, there is no way I want to have to fix this engine at home before I go to England, I need to know it is in top working order before I go home this weekend, otherwise I can’t go to Santa Pod with just one engine.”

Thomas Lindström

Thomas Lindström was a shadow of his usual crazy self in the morning of day one.  He had a fever and pains in his stomach and was looking very miserable as he turned the car around for Q2.  He explained that his seemingly lazy time in Q1 was due to a misfire in 3rd gear.

Sampsa Palos

As Sampsa Palos came out of the bleach box in Q1, a nut flew out from under the car and landed in the centre island.  Inspection later revealed this to have been from an engine mounting bolt.  This was not the teams biggest concern however.  They simply did not have enough clutch for the conditions in round one and would be raising both the base pressure and the finger weights for the next round.

Bengt Ljundahl

Bengt Ljundahl was delighted to have made a full pass, and did so without breaking anything, which was a surprise, since when the team looked at the readouts, they realised Bengt had not shifted into 5th gear on that run.

Magnus Petersson

Just as the cars were gathered in the tunnel prior to Q2, a strange situation occurred when the fire surpression system on Micke larsson’s funny car at the head of the lanes suffered a catastrophic failure and dumped fire foam all over the pairing lanes.  With the aid of a raod sweeper truck, the crew were able to clear this up, and Pro Stock were allowed through the tunnel.

Jimmy Ålund

Normal service was resumed in the Jimmy Ålund camp as Jimmy took the Summit racing and Enskede Bilexpress sponsored Camaro to a number one qualifying time of 6.557.  Second fastest in this session was Thomas with a 6.573 time and taking the final point for third fastest was Magnus Petersson recording a time of 6.660.  Bumped out of the qualifying field at this point was Christian Sagelv who joined Michael Malmgren on the outside looking in as Michael hit tyre shake again and failed to set a representative qualification time.

Christian Sagelv

Qualification 3 on Saturday morning saw several engine changes, notably Christian Sagelv who swapped to a block that he had never run a full lap with. ”We have to try it and keep the blue oval in with a chance of racing” said Christian.  Sampsa palos was not planning to change the engine, but problems on morning warm up meant the team were left with a scramble to swap the block in time for the first lap.  Jimmy lowered the number one qualifier spot to 6.541 with Thomas second quickest followed by Michael, who seemed to have got rid of his tyre shake demons to post a 6.634 time and take the last qualifying point in this session.  Michaels move up the board put Bengt out of the ladder as the Ljungdahl car hit tyre shake and was unable to improve

Thomas Lindström

In the final qualifier, the ambient temperature had increased significantly and the air was nowhere close to as good as the morning had been.  Consequently there was no movement in the qualification ladder, and only Michael Malmgren was able to improve his ET to a new personal best of 6.616.  This was not enough to change his position however and he remained in fourth place.

Overnight, Jimmy Ålund was forced to swap his engine having done damage in the last qualifier.  Jimmy would go into eliminations with Jan Ericsson’s spare engine in.  In a twist of fate, he would also be facing Jan.  In another bizarre twist, Sampsa Palos was also using his opponent’s power plant as he has Richard Sundblom’s engine under the hood.  The two Finns would face each other in round one

Michael Malmgren

Summary Eliminations:

First round:

Michael Malmgren continued to improve his performance in the first round of eliminations as he defeated Magnus Petersson with a new improvement to his personal best, and his first entry into the 6.5’s.  Magnus raced for all he was worth, but Michael took the strip and the race.

Simon Gustafsson

Simon Gustafsson hit some tyre shake off the line after pulling a very good light against Thomas Lindström, after that it was Thomas all the way as Simon clicked off early when he saw there was no way he was going to catch Thomas.

Magnus Petersson

Sampsa Palos had an issue at the start line which resulted in an enormous red light as Sampsa could not hold the car on the clutch any longer.  Richard Sundblom dodged a bullet there as he was badly out of shape off the line and headed for the wall.  After correcting the car, Richard momentarily got back on the gas but realized he had won the race and cruised through the lights.  Giving up lane choice but saving the engine.

Jimmy Ålund

Jan Ericsson made his 2015 record against Jimmy Ålund 2 for 2 as he beat Jimmy again just as he did in Finland.  Jan had been struggling to find the 6.6 territory that he should occupy, but this round he delivered, and he progressed.   Jimmy bogged down slightly at mid track, both drivers recording 0.9 sixty foot times, it was difficult to see from the start line where Jimmy lost the race, but lose he did, and the championship leader became a spectator.



Jan Ericsson progressed further as huge tyre shake forced Michael Malmgren out of the race.  Jan recording another 6.6 second lap to show that he has regained his consistency and speed.


Thomas left the line with a massive advantage over Richard, and the Finn was never going to make up the deficit.  Thomas took over the points lead at this point.

The final


The final should have been between Thomas and Jan, but Jan’s car would not start, despite valiant efforts from Jan’s own crew and some Interested Pro Stock team members to bump start the car, it just wouldn’t play, and so Thomas went for a solo run.  What a run it was as well, equaling his personal best ET.  Thomas took it all the way to the line and earned another 40 points in the process.

The final


Brief conclusion/ looking ahead towards next event
Jimmy has lead the championship from the beginning of this season, but no more.  A first round exit and Thomas’ run to the event win means that the multiple champion is now 46 points behind Thomas heading to England.  Only a reversal of the situation here, i.e. an early exit for Thomas and an event win for Jimmy can keep his number one plate on the car.  But that, as we have seen here is possible, and so we go to the finals with even higher tension than we had in 2014.  Only one point separates Michael and Magnus in 3rd and fourth places, and either could still mathematically take away the 2nd place from Jimmy if he suffers a similar set of circumstances at Santa Pod.  As ever with Pro Stock, it is not over until it is over.  Many commentators suggested that Jimmy had killed the class when he began campaigning the Camaro, and it is true that for a time he was miles ahead in speed and ET terms.  But the remaining teams have stepped up, and we now have four cars running inside the 6.5 bracket, with at least two others ready to join the club when the conditions match up.  Pro Stock has not been ruined, it has been massively improved.  The finals at Santa Pod will show any cynics that this class is not only alive and well; it is close, exciting and competitive, as well as dramatic, unpredictable and cruel.  A truly gladiatorial experience and one I am delighted to be involved with.

Low ET of the event:      Jimmy Ålund 6.5417
Highest speed:       
Jimmy Ålund 214.27 mph (344.83 kmh)
Records set:      none

Link to full results:
Final qualifications list

Elimination ladder

Author:   Ian Hart
Photos:   Remco Scheelings

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