After rain comes sunshine at Tierp Arena
The weather was not with the racers on race day during the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals at Tierp Arena. But in the end, all drivers and teams were happy that they could race at all, as eliminations started at 5 PM and when the curfew of 8 PM was there, Top Fuel, Top Methanol and Pro Stock had completed their semifinals and Pro Modified their quarterfinals. In Top Fuel Antti Horto and Timo Lehtimäki made the final an all Finnish affair, while in Pro Stock the two Swedes Jimmy Ålund and Stefan Ernryd would have had to race for the trophy. In Top Methanol Silvio Strauch would have been the winner as the driver from Germany had a bye run in the final.
After the rain on the two days of qualifying, elimination day of the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals at Tierp Arena, round three of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship, started even worse. Heavy rain in the morning was followed by drizzle. Although everybody expected the race to be cancelled, the track crew did their very best to get the track in racing conditions when it was finally dry. At 5 PM, instead of the scheduled 10 AM, there was the start of eliminations and even the sun came out. With the help of the teams, drivers and track crew, in the 3 hours until the curfew, many elimination rounds were completed, and that was much more than everybody expected.
In Top Fuel number one qualifier Ida Zetterström had a bye run in the first round, but still recorded a 4.00 seconds ET. And there was more good news for the leader in the championship as the number two in the title race, Susanne Callin, was defeated by reigning champion Antti Horto, who stormed to a great 3.86 seconds. The Finn even improved his ET in the semifinals to 3.85 seconds and that was too quick for Zetterström who had traction problems at halftrack. It was the first time this season that Zetterström was defeated in an elimination round.
In the final Horto would have had to face his countryman Timo Lehtimäki. The Finn had a walk over into the final as he had a bye run in the first round and the semifinals as well.
In Top Methanol there were several upsets in eliminations. In the quarter finals Tony Bryntesson defeated reigning champion Sandro Bellio, who is still without an elimination round win this season, while championship leader Linn Fløysvik pulled a red light and was defeated by Silvio Strauch.
The number one qualifier, Tina Høst Nedregård, had a bye run in the quarter finals but still stormed to a great 5.30 seconds. But in her semifinal against Strauch the Norwegian rookie pulled a red light, handing the win to the German racer. After defeating Bellio, Bryntesson had a bye run in the semifinal, but the driver from Sweden ran into serious problems during the burn out and was not able to make the run. Thus Strauch would have had a bye run in the final and it would have been the first FIA race win for the driver from Germany.
In Pro Stock Jimmy Ålund and Robin Norén advanced to the semifinals, while Stefan Ernryd defeated his championship rival Michael Malmgren and Lasse Britsmar surprised number three qualifier Simon Ekengren. In the semifinals Ålund once again proved his great form by recording 6.62 seconds to defeat Norén.
In the final the multiple champion would have had to face Ernryd, as the Dodge driver saw Britsmar pull a red light in the semifinals.
With a 16-car field, Pro Modified was the only class that still had to race the semifinals before the curfew of 8 PM was there. In the first round number one qualifier Andres Arnover advanced to the quarter finals, and the same was true for championship leader Jan Ericsson, Michel Tooren, Michael Gullqvist and Andreas Arthursson. Jimmy Ålund surprised Mats Eriksson, while David Vegter defeated his championship rival Bruno Bader and Fredrik Fagerström surprised Marck Harteveld.
In a close run, 5.90 over 5.92 seconds, Ericsson defeated Arnover and advanced to the semifinals where the reigning champion and championship leader would have had to face Fagerström, who saw Tooren pull a red light. Vegter did a good job for his position in the championship by defeating Gullqvist, while Ålund surprised again by defeating Arthursson and would have had to face the Dutch driver for a spot in the final.
The next round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship is within two weeks, the NitrOlympX at the HockenheimRing in Germany.
Text and photos: Remco Scheelings