Around 300 teams from all over Europe gathered for the third round of FIA Championship Drag Racing at Tierp Arena in Sweden for the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals. The stage was set for a great event, but unfortunately the weather had different plans and remained the hottest topic in the pits throughout the whole weekend. Instead, the Sportsman classes to kick off the event on Thursday, low temperatures, and ongoing drizzle were the only thing dominating the dragstrip all morning long. Even when it stopped and the safety crew almost had the track race-ready, the rain returned and forced the officials to call it for the day.
Friday morning was looking much better and the event finally could be kicked off under overclouded skies. The lack of a day of Sportsman racing and the cold and moist weather made for tricky track conditions for the teams. Around noon, yet another round of precipitation put the on-track action on hold and the safety crew back to work. At the end of the day, all classes were able to complete two full sessions, except for Top Fuel dragsters, whose qualifying got curtailed because curfew hit and the track surface would have been too cold by that time as well.
The officials reworked the schedule for Saturday and planned for three full qualifying sessions to make up for Friday. But again, the weather played the spoiling role and showers shortened the racing time multiple times that day. So again, pro sessions got shortened to one session instead of the planned three.
After the shortened qualifying days, Ida Zetterström was sitting on top of the five-car Top Fuel field with a 4.061 at 231 mph. Rookie driver Tina Høst Nedregård surprised everyone with her best of 5.265 at 256 mph to lead the Top Methanol class. His 5.876 at 249 mph run earned Andres Arnover the top spot of the Pro Mod field. No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock once again was Jimmy Ålund with a 6.593 at 212 mph.
Sunday started off with fog and rain, which forced the officials to decide to just run all pro classes and the classes participating in the European Drag Racing Series by Speedgroup (EDRS) championship. This meant the sportsman teams where slated to pack and go home and prepare for their next event. Eventually the rain stopped around 4 p.m. and the skies began to clear up so the ongoing track drying could proceed, and at 5 o’clock, the first pair of cars hit the track. But despite the huge efforts of the track and safety crew to get the racing surface dried and sticky again, the 8 p.m. curfew drew closer and closer so that only two full rounds of eliminations could be concluded. The points were awarded for the stage reached in competition.
The possible final matchups would have started with Antti Horto and Timo Lehtimäki in Top Fuel Dragster. Silvio Strauch would have had a bye run in the finals of FIA Top Methanol. The semifinal round of FIA Pro Modified would have been Jan Ericsson vs. Fredrik Fagerström and David Vegter vs. Jimmy Ålund on the other side of the ladder. In FIA Pro Stock, Stefan Ernrvd would have raced Jimmy Ålund. The final of FIM-E Top Fuel Bike would have been Rikard Gustafsson against Kari Rautanen. Per Benatsson and Marcus Christiansen would have raced each other in the Super Twin Bike finals. Mathias Bohlin and Dániel Donát Lensés reached the finals of the Super Street Bikes, and Bertrand Maurice and Theodor Vik would have battled for the win in Pro Stock Bike.
In the end there was only one big winner: the weather. Thankfully, at least parts of the qualifying and some of the elimination rounds could be completed over the course of the four days. But surely we’re all hoping for better and more consistent weather at the last two FIA European Drag Racing rounds in Hockenheim and Santa Pod in the upcoming weeks.
After the third FIA Drag Racing Championship round the point standings are looking like this:
Ida Zetterström is the leader in Top Fuel with 227 points, followed by Susanne Callin (166 points) and reigning champion Antti Horto (138 points) rounding out the top three. In Top Methanol, Silvio Strauch sits on top with 191 points, followed by Linn Fløysvik (185 points) and Sandro Bellio (119 points). Jan Ericsson is the leader of the Pro Modified list with 274 points, followed by David Vegter (195 points) and Bruno Bader (187 points) currently sitting second and third. Pro Stock driver Jimmy Ålund has gathered 156 points for the top spot, with Stefan Ernryd sitting second with 142 points and Simon Ekengren has earned 97 points to be third so far.