Ida Zetterström, Linn Fløysvik and Jan Ericsson winners at season-opening The Main Event at Santa Pod Raceway
Ida Zetterström raced to victory by defeating Susanne Callin in an all-female Top Fuel final at Santa Pod Raceway. Zetterström, from Åland, Finland, made her race day perfect by resetting both sides of the FIA European record in the semi-final with 3.773 seconds and 321.01 mph. Jan Ericsson, from Sweden, defeated home favourite Bobby Wallace to take the win in Pro Modified. In the Top Methanol final Linn Fløysvik took the win over Silvio Strauch. It was the first win in the FIA European Championship for the female driver from Norway.
It was a great day of racing at Santa Pod Raceway where The Main Event kicked off the 2023 FIA European Drag Racing Championship. Over the weekend the event was attended by 30,000 spectators. On race day they all had an excellent day with spectacular runs, close racing, several surprises and even two European records in Top Fuel.
It was once again ladies day in Top Fuel. In the first round of eliminations number one qualifier Susanne Callin defeated Stig Neergaard and because the RF Motorsport/Slick Tricks Racing driver from Sweden had a bye run in the semi-finals, she advanced to the final. Because Jndia Erbacher was too quick for Duncan Micallef, and Ida Zetterström improved to a great 3.80 seconds to defeat Dennis Nilsson, the other semi-final was an all-female one.
And what a semi-final it was. On her run Zetterström stormed to a stunning 3.773 seconds at 321.01 mph to reset both sides (ET and speed) of the FIA European record. Erbacher still recorded a great 3.94 seconds, but it was not enough to beat the RF Motorsport driver from Åland, Finland.
Thus the final, with Callin and Zetterström, was all-female as well. Zetterström proved her great form from eliminations once again as she stormed to another great 3.80 seconds, to defeat Callin, who suffered problems at the start line. It was the second win for Zetterström since she entered the Top Fuel class last season and her first win at Santa Pod.
In Pro Modified the eliminations were filled with many great runs and several upsets. Number one qualifier Jan Ericsson recorded two 5.7-second runs to defeat Marcus Hilt and in a very close run Marck Harteveld, the Dutchman who reset his personal best in the first round. In the semi-finals Ericsson had to face Bruno Bader, after the Swiss driver surprised with a win over Michel Tooren, the Pro Dutch Racing driver who also reset his personal best in the first round. Ericsson recorded 5.8 seconds to advance to the final while Bader had traction problems and hit the wall.
On the other side of the ladder local hero and number 10 qualifier Bobby Wallace surprised. After defeating Andy Robinson in the first round, the biggest surprise came in the quarter final when Wallace defeated a quicker David Vegter. The number two qualifier from The Netherlands dived into the 5.7 seconds in round one, to repeat that on his run against Wallace. Vegter’s reaction time was a bit too slow, thus the 5.775 seconds was not enough to defeat a slower (5.83 seconds) Wallace. Because Andres Arnover suffered severe engine damage in the quarter finals and was not able to be back in time for the semi-finals, Wallace had a bye run into the final.
In the final Ericsson proved his great form again, recorded a great 5.74 seconds to claim the win, while Wallace slowed down and crossed the finish line in 6.44 seconds.
In Top Methanol the number one qualifier, Sandro Bellio, the reigning champion from Belgium, suffered problems in the semi-final and was defeated by Silvio Strauch, while number two qualifier Jonny Lagg had traction problems and was beaten by Linn Fløysvik from Norway.
In the final Fløysvik recorded a new personal best with 5.519 seconds to defeat Strauch who had his best run of the weekend as well.
The FIA European Drag Racing Championship continues in June at Tierp Arena, Sweden.
More photos from The Main Event can be found at:
For all Main Event results:
Text and photos Remco Scheelings