Overseas Drag Racing – 2018 FIA Euro Finals Cap Explosive Year
The FIA Drag Racing and FIM Drag Bike Championship season schedule consists of a consolidated six race schedule annually. This makes every event, if not every round championship critical. There is no room for error. Every team and racer has to be perfect and consistent at every round of competition and can’t afford any missteps, hoping to come back later in the season. The tension was palpable at the recent 2018 FIA Euro Finals held at Santa Pod Raceway in England.
After scoring two event wins, one runner up and two semifinal finishes Anita Mäkelä came in as the points leader in Top Fuel only in need of winning the second round to take home the championship trophy. Running a new personal best of 3.8706 297.02 mph in qualifying brought her the number one spot. Anita also dominated the Top Fuel field on Sunday and ended up in the final against Swiss Top Fuel rookie Jndia Erbacher. Jndia, a bit slower on the tree, suffered from severe tire shake and had to click it off. Anita not only took home the event win and the championship at the same day, she also ended the season as the European Top Fuel ET and Speed record holder. How’s that for dominance?
FIA Pro Mod racer Jimmy Alund scored a runner up at the year’s first race, a semi-final finish at the second event and finally an event win at the FHRA Nitro Nationals in Finnland. Coming into the German Nitrolympx as the points leader, he lost the semi-final round and with that also lost the points lead. He came up short in the final against Andreas Arthursson earlier in the year, so he had to win the Euro Finals to take the championship. Jimmy was running solid in the 5s through all rounds and faced off in the final round against Jan Ericsson. His 5.873 beat Ericssons 6.050 to seal his first European Pro Mod Championship.
In the Top Methanol category, the Habermann brothers from Germany dominated the competition all year long. After five events it was just a matter of which of them would take home the trophy. After having won three out of the six season events, Timo Habermann looked like the favorite title candidate. Due to their qualifying positions they already faced off in the first round. When Timos tires started to lose grip, he needed to pedal it, which opened the door for his brother Dennis, who beat him with a 5.307 to his 5.443. Dennis won the round and the championship, but the team’s celebration was cut short as they wanted to win the event too. The teams reactions were even wilder when Dennis went on to beat Jonny Lagg in the final with a tire shaking 5.345 to a 5.429. The proud Habermann stable took home their seventh championship overall.
After winning two of the three events he entered in Pro Stock this year, it looked like Pro Mod champ Jimmy Alund had a slim mathematical chance to become the first European champ in two categories. But by not entering the Euro Finals, in the Pro Stock category, he gave away the Championship to Bent Ljungdahl, who had been in the points lead halfway through the season, despite being winless. At the 2018 FIA Euro Finals Ljungdahl went straight to the money round beating Michael Malmgren and his tire-rattling run of 18.959 at only 41.47 mph with a 6.66 at 202.57 mph to take away the championship crown.
Betrand Maurice won the FIM Pro Stock Bike title by beating a quicker, but redlighting Charly Abraham in round two. Betrand went on into the final round, where he lost to number one qualifier Martin Newbury. Betrand Maurices 7.495 at 169.17 mph was no match to Newbury’s 7.191 at 182.32 mph. The other championships in the bike categories went to Greek Filippos Papafilippou and Denmarks Marcus Christiansen in Supertwin, while Brit Rick Stubbins became 2018 champion in the Super Street Bike category.
After the last trophy has been given out and the last sip of Champaign has been slurped down, it’s already time to look ahead at the upcoming season.
But till then, it’s time to regroup, stock up the parts inventory, stick the heads together and work out an even better tuneup for the European Drag Racing schedule in 2019.