Finland’s FHRA Check In!
Here is a report submitted by Euro correspondent Roger Gorringe from the FHRA Nitro Nationals from Alastaro Finland which was held July 3-6 — part of DragRaceCanada’s continued commitment to coverage of major International Drag Racing events….
The track was resurfaced recently and prolonged rain prior to the event prevented any chances of sustained preparation giving the assembled race teams somewhat of a nightmare scenario as everyone had to try and do well on a very ‘green’ track. There were many aborted, up in smoke or crossed up tries as power had to be radically reduced and as the track improved re-dialed in on each attempt. The surface did improve as more rubber bedded in and some teams fared better than others in reading the conditions. The many, patriotic fans packing the bleachers and the famed ‘beach’ got a great weekend’s entertainment and suntan as the race was the first FIA event to be finalized this year in the dry. There were many surprises as big names were dealt out or did not make the cut adding to the drama.
Top Fuel: Denmark’s Stig Neergaard assisted by veteran U.S. tuner Bode Smith took 3000bhp out of the car in a first ditch attempt at qualifying with several passes going into hard tyre smoke as did many others. A 4.641/250 got him into fourth spot behind Malta’s Duncan Micallef on a 4.577/202. Finland’s Anita Mäkelä sat in number two spot with a 4.573/233 and leading the eleven strong pack was Norway’s Thomas Nataas on a 4.443/233 clocking. Neergaard slogged his way past Micallef in round one then Nataas in round two before facing hometown favourite, Mäkelä. The final was a close run with Stig Neergaard’s ‘Eye of the Storm’ machine leaving first and hanging on to take the 4.479/255 win over the Tradeparts backed car of Anita Mäkelä a 4.649/248 try ending up second.
Top Methanol Dragster: It was the Maltese machines that quickly managed to get a grip on the track with the blown Mr. Whippy car of Monty Bugeja producing a 5.531/262 pole position in the small field with fellow countryman Chris Polidano notching up a 5.616/262 for second. It quickly became an all Maltese show as Bugeja took out Swede, Jonny Lagg and Polidano saw off the try from Stefan Gunnarsson who was running his first FIA event. The final saw the two Malta drivers face off, it was Monty Bugeja who caught and passed the injected Kalanc machine of Chris Polidano, a 5.538/262 beat the 5.561/267.
Top Methanol Funny Car: The class seems to be shrinking like the TMD category did last year as only three cars made the event led by Sweden’s Johan Lindberg almost in a class of his own with a 5.741/254 top qualifier, the only car in the fives. A round one bye put Lindberg up against Finn Johnny Oksa on the money run and despite a much better leave Oksa went into tyre smoke at three hundred feet and Lindberg powered through winning with a 6.138/240 to the losing 7.259/197.
Pro Mod: A mere nine car field saw Mattias Wulcan from Sweden lead the way, a 6.256/228 putting him ahead of some of the heavy hitters. Wulcan made his way through the ranks putting away fellow countryman Mats Eriksson in one, Finn, Tami Brander in two and faced the nitrous power of Sweden’s Roger Johansson in the final. The Mustang of Johansson left on a good light then got into a big weave going up track, he was caught and passed by Wulcan’s ’68 Firebird at half track, the win light showing a 6.229/229 for Mattias Wulcan as Johansson wrestled his ride back to a losing 7.443/135.
Pro Stock: Ten cars vied for position that was unsurprisingly led by Sweden’s Jimmy Ålund with a 6.853/209 clocking ahead of Michael Malmgren on a 6.916/196. It would be Malmgren that took charge of the event seeing off the likes of Finn Sampsa Palos in one, Swede, Christian Sagelv in two to reach the final. Meeting Malmgren would be Jimmy Ålund who dispatched fellow Swedes Jan Palmqvist in one then Magnus Petersson in two. A staging duel started the final then Ålund left first in his KW Parts.com Camaro only to suddenly come off the power allowing Malmgren in his new GXP a straight run to the victory, a 6.945/195 beating the slowed up 7.570/152.
Posted by Roger Gorringe -www.nitroexposure.co.uk
Photos Copyright : Roger Gorringe