Timo now heads Dennis in the points by less than an elimination round, with defending champion Lagg not that far behind the German duo.
The EDRS Pro bikes had Jan Sturla Hegre in low 6-second form on the Uggerud brothers’ Top Fuel bike to take the class win.
Super Twin had Hegre’s fellow Norwegian Svein Olav Rolfstad over a second ahead of the rest with a 6.567, but the all-run ladder ended up in a Finnish domestic affair with Teemu Kettula (shown) getting to the stripe ahead of Samu Kemppainen in a tractionless high 7- to high 8-second affair (although Kemppainen, Jaska Salakari and Czech Roman Sixta had been in the sixes during eliminations, Salakari had the best with a 6.773 on a very early shut-off on his blower bike).
Pro Stock Bike went to Thomas Lysebraate Olsen (shown) with the Norwegian benefiting from a just too early leave (-0.034 red) from Timo Savolainen, the Finn having set class low ET at 7.115 in the semi-finals.
Mogens Lund swept Super Street Bike, taking the low qualifying spot, low ET (7.119 in the semis) and top speed (205.66mph in the open round of eliminations) honours before defeating Anders Blanck in the Denmark v Sweden final.
FIA/FIM-E 2017 Championship dates:
18th – 20th August NitrOlympX, Hockenheimring, Germany [FIA+FIM-E]
24th – 27th August Scandinavian Internationals, Tierp Arena, Sweden [FIA]
7th – 10th September Euro Finals, Santa Pod Raceway, UK [FIA+FIM-E]
With the Nitro Nationals win Persson has moved into fourth in the points, with Ålund, Vegter and Gullqvist ahead of him.
FIA Pro Stock
Fourteen took aim at qualification for the eight-car field, with Jim-my Ålund (doubling up in both doorslammer classes) with a 6.598/211.16 for both ends of the track record from the Summit Racing Camaro. Electrical gremlins caused Ålund’s exit at the semi-final stage, handing Stefan Ernryd a spot in the final against Bengt Ljundahl, who had defeated Michael Malmgren in the all Swedish final four.
The rematch from the Tierp final was over before it started as Ernryd in the Dico by Belgetti Dodge Dart left substantially before the green with a -0.249s red leaving Ljundahl to cruise to the victory with a 6.688 clocking. Ljundahl and Ernryd are one and two in the points, but the VP Fuels-backed Camaro driver has a pretty healthy lead.
FIA Top Methanol
The mixed methanol class had the Habermann brothers out in front after qualifying, with younger sibling Dennis just besting Timo’s 5.395/262.38 with a 5.379/266.16 after following each other in the final single lane session. Dennis appeared to want to double-up first round opponent Mikael Larsson’s TMFC 0.26s handicap start with a sleepy 0.288s RT, gifting the Swede a semifinal solo as a 5.430/265.01 wasn’t enough to get around a 5.820. Timo had an easier time on the other side of the ladder, dealing with class rookie Petteri Liimatainen and class veteran Jonny Lagg in the opening and semi-final stage before clocking a class low 5.337/264.80 to earn the trophy on a solo after Larsson was shut-off heading into pre-stage with an apparent leak.
Micallef belted out a 4.093/289.50 to dispel any thoughts about a one-lane racetrack and maintain Mäkelä’s unwanted first round losing streak for the 2017 season.
The semi-finals were delayed for some time whilst Ahonen was given time to repair the damage caused in his defeat of Kågered, but this was to no avail for the home fans and Neergaard took a solo to the final. On the lower side of the ladder Micallef and Horto had a re-match of the final at the previous event, with Micallef taking the laurels again with a 4.279 to earn lane choice for the trophy run off.
Malta v Denmark with Micallef on something of a hot streak, undefeated in 2017 and taking his first FIA win in Sweden at the preceding event. As a race it was all over before the light when green as Neergaard fouled out with a -0.024 red (his first in 12 years of com-petition), but Micallef’s 4.197 (second quickest ET of the day after his opening 4.0) would have been highly competitive despite chewing up a rod or two in the effort. The Bajada New Energy-backed driver now has a healthy lead over Neergaard and Horto as we head into the second half of the season.
FIA Pro Modified
Pro Mod qualifying had Micke Gullqvist low with a 5.902/245mph from his blown Camaro, with Jimmy Ålund also in the fives at 5.977. Dutch-man David Vegter came in next with a 6.046 preventing a Swedish sweep of the top four as Åke Persson carded a best of 6.062.
The first two rounds of eliminations appeared to be a breeze for Gullan as he set low ET of each with a 5.881/245.62 (new track record) and a 5.966/242.58 but the drop off between the first and quarter finals had the team puzzled and a quick fix clashed with the tune up for the semis resulted in the blown first gen Camaro losing traction, handing Persson a pass into his first FIA final.
On the lower half of the ladder Ålund had gone in the quarters with Andreas Arthursson bumping his turbo SS Chevelle into a semifinal match up with Vegter.
The Pedal to the Metal Camaro added a third race day low 6.0 with a 6.032/239.95 to take the win but damaged a torque converter in the process. Despite a thrash to replace it with one out of Ålund’s ride, they were unable to make the startline, handing a delighted Persson his first FIA win having recorded 6.004, 6.039 and 6.088 (demonstrating the consistency in Jonnie Lindberg’s – yes that Jonnie Lindberg – race day tune up) in the preceding rounds and an early shut-off 6.133 on the trophy earning solo.
Racers battle battle oildowns/clean-ups to set track records
Words and photos by Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes
Third stop on the FIA European Championship tour, the FHRA Nitro Nationals was a curious affair in 2017, with a slew of classes seeing track record numbers suggesting that once the dust and forest foliage (both incoming thanks to the strong crosswinds that were a feature of the weekend) had been navigated the track was in pretty good condition.
Unfortunately, this meeting will stick in the mind of many for the endless delays during qualifying for clean-ups (Alastaro being sited in a water catchment area and thus is limited in what can be put down on track to facilitate absorption and dilution, but this was beyond anything we’ve experienced here in over a decade covering the event), with two occasions resulting in single lane operation only. The flip side was a comparatively smooth eliminations day, but there were quite a few heated words over the course of the event. Hopefully, the organisers and sanctioning body will review the weekend’s events and come up with a solution that will keep the Nitro Nationals on the European tour.
FIA Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying was conducted against the backdrop of the race for the first 3-second pass in Finland, with one from Stig Neergaard, Anita Makela and the trio of Rune Fjeld Motorsport entries deemed most likely among the eight-car field. For a brief moment it looked as if reigning champion Mäkelä might have done the deed in the first session, after a 3 flashed up on the boards, but the .757 that followed it raised more than a highly skeptical eyebrow. A subsequent check of the timing system and startline rollout coupled with a 0.364 sixty-foot clocking resulting in not only Mäkelä’s ticket being chucked out but the whole session went into the ‘never happened’ mystery box.
The remaining three sessions (a fourth was scheduled, but that would have probably necessitated running past midnight such were the delays on the Saturday) had Neergaard way out in front with a very impressive (and legit) 4.020/299.79mph run that nearly had the Dane in the threes.
He was followed in the final list by a trio of Finns with Mäkelä (4.213), Antti Horto (4.305) and ski-jumping superstar Janne Ahonen (4.434), with Micke Kågered (4.456), Liam Jones (4.538), points leader Duncan Micallef (4.642) and the final Finn Timo Lehtimäki (4.660) completing the field.
With both lanes back in operation for eliminations, it wasn’t that much of a surprise to see all of the top four picking the left hand lane in the first round, with Neergaard, Ahonen and Horto progressing with their opponents overpowering the right hand lane at various points.
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 7 - JULY 2017
DRAGRACINGOnline will be published on or around the 8th of each month and will be updated throughout the month.
DRAGRACINGOnline owes allegiance to no sanctioning body and will call 'em as we see 'em. We strive for truth,integrity, irreverence and the betterment of drag racing. We have no agenda other than providing the drag racing public with unbiased information and view points they can't get in any other drag racing publication.
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