The Euro Finals -- FIA/UEM European Drag Racing Championship|
Final Round 6th -- 9th September 2012
Santa Pod Raceway - England
Words & Photos by Dick Parnham
It could well have been California weather with a weekend of blue sky and sun burn temperatures as the huge crowd of spectators saw record performance from the teams who were dealing with the morning and late afternoon preferred slightly lower temperatures that aid performance against the mid day hot track mirage.
With rain that had interrupted potential record performance rounds of the championship at Alastaro Circuit Finland ,both rounds at Tierp Arena Sweden and Hockenheimring Germany this was to be a weekend at last of none stop action.
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER - 1,000 Feet
A last minute addition to Top Fuel was the first outing in 2012 for The Anderson Racing Team with driver Thomas Nataas who in 2011 had been leading the field with professional driver Tommy Johnson Jr. who had set record performance results in the car of 4.008 sec, 305 mph over the quarter mile.
The economic climate has restricted the events that 2011 Champion Urs Urbacher was able to attend but was able to attend here in person and assisted in the commentary.
Micke Kagared was also not listed as a competitor.
This has been the first Championship where Top Fuel has followed the USA with the track finish line at 1,000 Feet and the result has seen some great close Qualifying times.
Qualifying -- 1,000 Feet
1. Thomas Nataas 4.018 sec, 301 mph
2. Anita Makela 4.025 sec, 287 mph
3. Antti Horto 4.085 sec, 298 mph
4. Risto Poutiainen 4.120 sec, 275 mph
5. Chris Andrews 4.127 sec, 280 mph
6. Jari Halinen 4.220 sec, 263 mph
7. Stig Neergaard 4.370 sec, 243 mph
The positive start saw in the first round of eliminations Top Qualifier Thomas Nataas in the Anderson Racing car on a hot bye run for next round lane choice with a 4.026 sec, 300 mph which is their second 300 mph pass and within 0.019cec and 0.027 sec of a three second lap.
Risto Poutiainen was next up and took the win in 4.059 sec, 295 mph over Chris Andrews Lucas Oil dragster on 4.378 sec, 285 mph which put him closer on points for the Championship
This happened sooner than Risto thought as the only challenger Jari Halinen on 4.156 sec, 277 mph was taken out by Antto Horto's fractionally quicker 4.102 sec, 295 mph.
Stig Neergaard at No 7 Qualifier had suffered engine damage with flames and oil down..He was next up against Anita Makela No 2 Qualifier and took a 0.058 sec hole shot over Anita but a repeat of his problems in qualifying with engine fire and oil down saw Anita go through in4.473 sec, 226 mph over the slower 5.953 sec, 107 mph.
The semi finals saw some of the closest magnificent racing starting with Risto Poutiainen taking a 0.014 sec hole shot over Thomas Nataas to win and take the 2012 Championship in 4.150 sec, 287 mph over Thomas Nataas quicker 4.136 sec, 279 mph.
Equally close racing came as Anita Makela came knocking on the three second zone with a winning 4.033 sec, 293 mph over Antti Horto on 4.175 sec, 286 mph
In the Final Anita Makela had a bye run for the event win in 8.617 sec, 71 mph after Risto Poutiainen shut off before staging.
TOP METHANOL DRAGSTER
1. Monty Bugeja 5.325 sec, 266 mph
2. Chris Polidano 5.384 sec, 266 mph
3. Dennis Habermann 5.407 sec, 260 mph
4. Krister Johansson 5,453 sec, 264 mph
5. Dave Wilson 5.490 sec, 261 mph
6. Tino Habermann 6.199 sec, 242 mph
This was yet again a great close field of cars all running 5 second quarter mile laps with only Timo Habermann below his normal standard on 6.199 sec..
The first round of Eliminations saw Krister Johansson take the win in this his final event before he retires in 5.12 sec, 253 mph over Dennis Habermann's 5.464 sec, 254 mph.
Next pairing saw Dave Wilson lose in again this his final meeting in 6.745 sec, 174 mph to Chris Polidano quicker 5.416 sec, 268 mph.
Final pairing saw Monty Bugeja now on a high as the 2012 Top Methanol Dragster Champion after Dennis Habermann's defeat and took the win in 5.363 sec, 265 mph over Timo Habermann with a smoking car before the engine blew to finish in 7.231 sec, 138 mph.
Frister Johansson's actual last race was so close but lost in 5.556 sec, 251 mph to Chris Polidano on 5.505 sec, 262 mph.
With the Champioship win already Monty Bugeja made it the double with the Event win in 5.364 sec, 263 mph over Chris Polidano's 5.540 sec, 264 mph.
TOP METHANOL FUNNY CAR
1. Ulf Landers 5.635 sec, 254 mph
2. Leif Andreasson 5.671 sec, 253 mph
3. Danni Bellio 5.959 sec, 206 mph
4. Rob Turner 6.010 sec, 191 mph
The Final went to Leif Andreasson in 5.686 sec, 250 mph despite Rob Turner's hole shot to lose in 6.010 sec, 234 mph.
MSA & FIA European PRO-MODIFIED
This class has grown again in number and quality and with a massive 18 Pro-Mod entry of which 10 of the 15 qualifiers were all in the 6 second zone.
Top Qualifier Bert- Ove-Olofsson from Sweden in 6.027 sec, 226 mph made his debut this year in the FIA Championship where in testing with G-Force Racecars he ran a 5.97 sec, 241 mph.
David Vegter qualified at No 2 in his MPM Oil sponsored Camaro on 6.114 sec, 232 mph but it was Micke Guilqvist hidden away at No 13 Qualifier in his Camaro would see him use his experience to shine through to take the Event win and the 2012 Championship in 6.152 sec, 230 mph over David Vegter on 6.337, 227 mph.
With Jimmy Alund and his new Jerry Haas USA Pro Stock car having the early reason tuning problems to now win the Event is a well deserved result in 6.697 sec, 206 mph over Top Qualifier Thomas Lindstrom close 6.717 sec, 205 mph.
Thomas Lindstrom took the Championship win on points.
TOP FUEL FUNNY CAR
It was announced that a Fuel Funny Car bracket is hoped for in 2013 and to search out the number of cars over next year.
The Funny Car Final went to John Spuffard in the ex John Force Racing Funny Car after Leif Hellander crossed the outer lane marking when drifting too close to the sidewall.
TOP FUEL BIKE
Ian King took the Event win and 2012 Championship title in 6.296 sec, 206 mph over Peter Svensson who Red Lit leaving too early on a 6.329 sec, 166 mph.
Peter Svensson during 2012 has reset his record in 5.923 sec to win the event at Tierp Sweden in 5.826 sec, 230 mph.and in qualifying a quickest ever Top Fuel Bike 5.709 sec, 220 mph.