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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 4: Santa Pod Raceway – European Finals - 9th to 12th September

While all eyes were focused on American superstar Melanie Troxel and the all-Swedish, Gullqvist-Lindberg shootout for the FIA European Championship, another Swede, Adam Flamholc, burst out of the Pro Mod pack to score a record-setting victory at Santa Pod Raceway’s European Finals.

Given drag racing’s starkly decisive nature, dramatic twists are never far away. Michael Gullqvist and Johan Lindberg had entered the event tied on points for the European crown. The young Lindberg had started the season in sensational winning form but had lost momentum later on. Gullqvist, aided by his alliance with the mighty Troxel/R2B2 Racing team from America, had come on strongly in the meantime and entered the Finals as clear favourite to carry off the FIA title. Whichever of the two racers survived longer in Sunday’s eliminations would go home as European champion.

Andy spacer Roger spacer Wayne

Though qualified only 14th, at 6.396 seconds, Lindberg chose the perfect moment to regain the six-second-flat form that had won him the season-opening race. A pair of 6.0sec elapsed times at over 230mph carried him past two strong opponents and into the semi-final.

Gullqvist, however, came surprisingly unstuck in that second round. A smokeless burnout and a cooked clutch left him stumbling in the wake of Swiss opponent Bruno Bader with his championship hopes dashed. Ironically, new champion Lindberg’s race ended meekly one round later when he lost reverse gear after his burnout.

Graham spacer Kev spacer Johan

Melanie Troxel also ended her European campaign in disappointing fashion. Having qualified in pole position (6.027sec at the event’s top speed, 241.22mph) and whipped past Dutch and British opponents in the first two rounds, Troxel was shut off with a leaking oil connection after her semi-final burnout. If nothing else, it at least reassures the rest that even the topmost teams can fall foul of the proverbial ten-cent part failure. 2010 will be remembered as Troxel’s year, even though she won none of the three races she contested (she was declared “winner by default” after dominating at Hockenheim’s FIA race when rain axed her final-round match against team-mate Gullqvist). The sudden arrival at May’s Main Event (MSA Rnd.2) of currently the world’s most accomplished female racing driver changed the landscape in an already fascinating class war and the R2B2 Racing Camaro that accompanied her proved the most potent Pro Mod machine ever to run in Europe.

And so to the winner of the race: Adam Flamholc’s claim to fame this season was his first-round defeat of Troxel at the Main Event, before Troxel’s crew chief had fully mastered European track conditions. Since then, the Camaro Flamholc had raced in the States before importing it early this year had performed without the distinction expected of it. All that changed this weekend.

Whatever had ailed the car, the team had plainly cured. Flamholc clocked fresh personal-best elapsed times on each of his three qualifying shots, finishing second behind Troxel at 6.042. Then he unloaded a pair of 5.9’s on his first two elimination opponents, including a European record 5.967, before cruising back into the sixes to win the semi-final and final. Another new star is born to this vibrant class. Flamholc joins new FIA champion Lindberg among the 2010 season’s major headline makers. Anticipation is already soaring for 2011.

Bruno spacer Adam spacer Trophies

Of the seven British drivers among the 25 entries, only Andy Robinson made the tough cut for Sunday’s 16-car eliminations field, although Graham Ellis finished as first alternate in his first outing in a Plymouth Barracuda that had only been delivered days earlier from America. Robinson, the reigning MSA British Drag Racing Champion, is MSA Champion-elect again this year and is expected to consolidate the title at Santa Pod’s UK National Finals (MSA Rnd.5), 25-26 September.

RESULTS:

Qualifiers:

Po. Driver Country Time Speed
1 Melanie Troxel USA 6.027 241.22
2 Adam Flamholc SWE 6.042 236.10
3 Mats Eriksson SWE 6.055 234.07
4 Michael Gullqvist SWE 6.087 233.76
5 Bruno Bader SUI 6.145 230.12
6 Marc Meihuizen NED 6.181 231.54
7 Mikael Lindahl SWE 6.218 225.91 [229.32]
8 Andy Robinson  GBR 6.264 230.49
9 Urban Johansson SWE 6.285 234.88
10 Norbert Kuno GER 6.285 226.63
11 Roger Johansson SWE 6.286 223.25 [223.56]
12 Fredrik Fagerström SWE  6.341 185.83 [223.66]
13 Marco Maurischat GER 6.356 221.46
14 Johan Lindberg SWE 6.396 224.46
15 Henri Joosten NED 6.424 211.92   [212.79]
16 Robert Joosten NED 6.505 207.97
Non-Qualifiers:
17 Graham Ellis GBR 6.510  216.99
18 Rolf Ammann SUI  6.522 214.09   [217.21]
19 Jean Dulamon FRA 6.605 218.14
20 Roger Moore GBR 6.828 205.33
21 Philip ‘Bert’ Englefield  GBR 6.859 212.08
22 Wayne Nicholson  GBR 6.925 202.42
23 Ray White  GBR 7.115 185.12
24 Kevin Slyfield   GBR 7.159 203.49
25 Jöran Persåker SWE 13.766 125.10

Eliminations:

Round 1:
Andy Robinson 6.272sec / 228.92mph  def.  Urban Johansson 16.504 / 49.90 DQ R/L
Mikael Lindahl 6.208 / 231.53  def.  Norbert Kuno 14.460 / 81.99 DQ R/L
Roger Johansson 6.269 / 223.39  def.  Marc Meihuizen 13.581 / 57.32
Bruno Bader 6.116 / 229.03  def.  Fredrik Fagerström 6.899 / 223.63
Michael Gullqvist 6.082 / 235.01  def.  Marco Maurischat 15.761 / 57.83
Johan Lindberg 6.096 / 230.13  def.  Mats Eriksson 6.239 / 229.32
Adam Flamholc 5.967 / 238.61  def.  Henri Joosten 16.630 / 45.62
Melanie Troxel 6.120 / 241.11  def.  Robert Joosten 13.249 / 72.74 DQ R/L

Round 2:
Johan Lindberg 6.024 / 233.80  def.  Roger Johansson 6.230 / 225.77
Melanie Troxel 6.056 / 241.11  def.  Andy Robinson broke
Bruno Bader 7.877 / 214.10  def.  Michael Gullqvist 12.581 / 66.77
Adam Flamholc 5.984 / 238.61  def.  Mikael Lindahl 6.196 / 231.66

Semi-final:
Bruno Bader 7.515 / 123.73  def.  Melanie Troxel broke
Adam Flamholc 6.627 / 161.33  def.  Johan Lindberg broke

Final:
Adam Flamholc 6.070 / 233.80  def.  Bruno Bader 7.413 / 215.11

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  5.967sec. (European record) – Adam Flamholc
Top Speed of the Event:  241.22mph – Melanie Troxel

Career-best performances set during event:

Jean Dulamon 6.605s - 218.14mph
Adam Flamholc 5.967s - 238.61mph
Henri Joosten 6.424s
Roger Moore 205.33mph
Ray White 7.115s

The 2010 points table is on the Rounds & Points page.