VOLUME XXI, NUMBER 8 - AUGUST, 2019
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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Editor & Publisher
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DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Director: Casey Araiza
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ET DRAG RACING
FIA/FIM-E NitrOlympX at Hockenheimring, Germany
Words and photos by Ivan Sansom and Rose Hughes
Anita Mäkelä was the Top Fuel Dragster winner.
The biggest event on the European calendar and the start of a frantic finale to the season, the Nitrolympx saw the Rico Anthes Quarter mile in a superb state of prep during the course of the Aug. 16-18 event, although rain curtailed activities on the Saturday and restricted the Night Show to largely static activities. Despite this and the gathering heat and humidity on Sunday that made the track sweat a bit during eliminations, the 2019 edition will go down as a pretty successful conclusion to Jerry Lackey’s tenure in charge of the show.
FIA Top Fuel Dragster
Seven entries for Top Fuel reduced the pressure to make race day, but there were significant bragging rights up for grabs (together with those little qualifying session bonus points) in the three completed sessions. Anita Mäkelä and the Levin Iglut /Auto Haapanen team came into the Nitrolympx looking to bounce back from an early exit at her home event in Finland the previous month, and bounce back she did with a pair of 3.8s (a best of 3.879 and a very substantial 315.27 mph on another) to head the first two qualifying sessions and barn-storming through eliminations with a series of 3.9s to drive around Maja Udtian’s slight holeshot in a 3.999/282.95 to a 4.027/275.39.
Udtian is proving to be a strong competitor in her first full season in FIA Top Fuel with Hockenheim marking her third runner-up finish in four events and the hard work of the Leroy/Islanders/RFM crew almost delivered the Norwegian her first win despite a major thrash to make the somewhat rushed call for the final after qualifying with a 3.882/284.93.
FIA Top Fuel
1. Anita Mäkelä (Fin) 3.879/313.37 (winner)
2. Maja Udtian (Nor) 3.882/284.93 (runner-up)
3. Liam Jones (GB) 3.904/305.77 (semi-final)
4. Jndia Erbacher (CH) 4.060/250.23 (semi-final)
5. Mikael Kågered (Swe) 4.284/205.32 (1st round)
6. Stig Neergaard (Den) 4.667/170.58 (1st round)
7. Urs Erbacher (CH) 5.605/117.83 (1st round)
Low ET: Mäkelä 3.879s
Best TS: Mäkelä 315.27mph
FIA Pro Modified
Pro Mod was a bit of a doosey with points leader Jan Ericsson heading the field with a seriously quick 5.876/245.36 a squeak ahead of Jimmy Ålund with a 5.879/248.89 and a strong field falling in behind them with notables like Micke Gullqvist arriving from an overnight hospital visit in time to make the qualifying ladder and Jean Dulamon (oft considered a nitrous fireball waiting to happen) getting closer to the fives with a 6.030 best. Like Top Fuel, the top two qualifiers would work their way through eliminations with Ericsson running low ET of race day with a 5.887/241.16 in the final. Unfortunately for the Sundholm Welding team this was accompanied by a cherry on the tree and Ålund jumped from fourth to second in the points behind Ericsson with a 5.957.
FIA Pro Stock Car: Ålund isn’t content with chasing the Pro Mod championship this season and the Summit Racing backed driver has been doing doorslammer double duty with his Camaro adding a third event win of the year in Pro Stock. Qualifying low (6.596/209.66) and then running through the six-car ladder to defeat last year’s event winner Robin Norén in the final to give a prominent leg up in his quest to add an eleventh class title with the best part of a meeting’s advantage with two events to go.
FIA Top Methanol: Despite not qualifying low (that honour going to Jonny Lagg who carded a superb 5.277/267.64 from the NGK backed A/Fuel car) and the team chewing through a fair bit of stuff, Timo Habermann emerged with the Nitrolympx title again with victory over a red-lighting Jürgen Nagel in the final to extend his winning streak on home soil to four in a row. Belgium’s Sandro Bellio extended his points lead over Lagg despite a semi-final exit as the Swede had a bit of a snooze at the startline in the opening round of eliminations to enable Nagel to progress.
FIM-E Top Fuel Bike: The battling duo of Rikard Gustafsson and Filippos Papafilippou (shown) have been delivering world class Top Fuel Bike pairings across Europe this season and the Nitrolympx would see them one (6.149) and two (6.152) respectively after qualifying. The opening round of eliminations saw Gustafsson improving to a 6.078/241.02 which would hold for the best numbers of the event and Papafilippou nudging his best of the weekend to a 6.114. As the heat and humidity increased the fuel bikes struggled to stick although the Gulf Oils scooter used a 6.150 to overcome a 6.538 PB from Glenn Borg at the semi-final stage and then used a 6.210 to hold off Gustafsson’s 6.526. Fast Fil now has just over an elimination round advantage in the points as the FIM-E classes head towards their conclusion at Santa Pod in early September.
FIM-E Super Twin Bike
Super Twin was a bit of a mess; nothing to do with the riders, but the decision taken by the FIM-E to permit a rider who failed to record a qualifying time into the elimination ladder ranks right up there with any global jaw droppers and the ramifications of this misreading of their own rule book will reverberate for a while yet.
Anyway, that shouldn’t detract from on track series put up by the assembled group with Roman Sixta leading the way after two completed qualifying sessions with a 6.660. The Czech rider would remain in the mid-six second zone throughout eliminations and produced the class fastest pass in defeating Neil Midgley in the final with a 6.704/212.56. Midgley had earlier gained a few plaudits by knocking points leader Marcus Christiansen out during the quarter-finals with a 6.580 at a lowly 186 mph that indicated a damaged piston that would hamper the Cannon Engineering blower bike for the remaining two rounds.
FIM-E Pro Stock Bike: The central European location of Hockenheim drew in thirteen entries for Pro Stock Bike which is substantially more than had been achieved in the preceding trio of events. Fredrik Fredlund topped the qualifying sheets with a 7.067, but transmission problems caused a second-round exit for the points leader. Second in the points Janne Koskinen failed to take advantage as he also left the scene with a lane disqualification whilst matched with a returning Charly Abraham. Abraham (shown) would use some sharpness on the tree to work his way to the final and then gained a freebie when Len Paget redlit although Abraham’s Buell was two tenths quicker in any case with a 7.330 winning effort.
FIM-E Super Street Bike
The Hockenheim Super Street Bike field is always a substantial affair and this time the sixteen-bike bump spot was lowered to a 7.527 and would have progressed further had the third qualifying session for the class not been negated by the wet stuff. Finn Vesa Ruhanen (6.953/216.79) and Sweden’s Mathais Bohlin (6.998/206.07) topped the qualifying sheets and were the first two to record 6-second passes in Germany.
By the end of eliminations they wouldn’t be the only ones as the traditional British dominance of the Nitrolympx Super Street Bike action swung back into play as Garry Bowe (6.979) and Steve Venables (6.965/212.09, the speed being backed up for a new FIM-E speed record) dropped into the sixes ahead of meeting up in the final. Ven slowed to a 7.138 but managed to break his Nitrolympx duck in FIM-E Super Street as Bowe stuttered to a double figure clocking, and the D.M.E. backed rider now has a serious championship lead before heading back to his home stomping ground at Santa Pod.
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