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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 4: Santa Pod Raceway – European Finals - 8th to 11th September

Swedish Rhapsody was the Pro Modified music of the moment at Santa Pod Raceway’s European Finals as Urban Johansson beat Johan Lindberg for the event title and Michael Gullqvist sewed up the FIA European Pro Mod Championship.

The Pro Mod contest combined the deciding round of the FIA Championship with the penultimate Round 4 of the MSA British Drag Racing Championship. The battle for the FIA crown was the focus of attention as Gullqvist cemented his lead over Switzerland’s Bruno Bader when both fell to defeat in the second round of eliminations.

Fresh start-line asphalt had been laid and tuners and drivers were beset with difficulties negotiating the transition from the new section to the existing track. Tyre-shake was a recurrent problem. Gullqvist, who had dominated the European season’s performance figures, qualified in pole position (6.068sec) for the 16-car field, but it was his only fully representative run. Gullqvist struggled to a 7.6sec win over bump-spotter Jean Dulamon in the opening round but was disqualified for crossing the centre-line against his next opponent, Johan Lindberg.

Andy spacer Bert spacer Mats and Graham

Urban Johansson and the Netherlands’ Marc Meihuizen both had that man-on-a-mission look all weekend. Though qualified only third and fourth behind Gullqvist and Mats Eriksson, they were the only two racers to clock 6sec elapsed times in all four sessions and stayed in the zone through eliminations.

Meihuizen, however, threw away a 6.21 in the semi-final by redlighting against Lindberg, who shut off to a 16-second timeslip after shaking the tyres. The luck which had attended Lindberg on that occasion deserted him in the final as he wasted his best run of a patchy weekend (6.13/234mph) on a redlight of his own creation to hand Johansson victory.

It was Johansson’s first MSA win at Santa Pod in the five years since Pro Mod became the designated MSA Championship class. The emphatic leader in that field of attainment is Britain’s Andy Robinson, with no fewer than seven race trophies to his credit. Robinson’s hopes of giving his venerable Studebaker a flourish in its last international appearance were dashed by a broken rear axle which could not be properly repaired at the track. Having qualified a disappointing 12th (6.648), Robinson was forced to withdraw from competition before Sunday’s eliminations. His replacement, first alternate Philip ‘Bert’ Englefield, managed to reach Sunday’s second round before slipping to defeat against Meihuizen with his only 6sec pass of the weekend.

Wayne spacer Nick spacer Roger

MSA Championship leaders Graham Ellis (15th) and Roger Moore (14th) both qualified but lost in the first round, Moore falling victim to race-winner Johansson.

Andy Frost was the next-best Brit. The Wolverhampton racer was giving his fabled new Vauxhall – the world’s only street-legal Pro Mod – its second ‘debut’, after its first appearance at May’s Main Event had succumbed to major engine damage. This time Red Victor 3 ran straight and true, completing its licensing process and hitting a 7.23 to finish 18th, second-alternate position behind Englefield. Nick Davies, driving the other turbocharged car in the field, Graham Ellis’s Superbird, and Wayne Nicholson occupied 19th and 20th places.

Urban Johansson’s triumphant weekend began during Saturday afternoon qualifying when he won the Exhaust-Coating.de Pro Mod Challenge, a race-within-a-race among the FIA season’s eight highest-placed qualifiers for a €2,000 first prize. Michael Gullqvist was the €500 runner-up.

Johan spacer Urban spacer Trophies

Switzerland’s Rolf Ammann – fabled smiter of trackside walls and wrecker of Christmas trees – celebrated his retirement from competition in staid fashion, qualifying 10th before losing to Sweden’s other Johansson, Roger, in the first round. Germany’s Marco Maurischat assumed the Ammann mantle for unintentional thrills with a sharp right turn at mid-track which took him from the left lane to a fortuitously light brush with the right-hand wall during the first round.

While Urban Johansson’s and Johan Lindberg’s final-round exploits took them roaring up the table to third and fourth in the MSA points, Graham Ellis and Roger Moore managed to hold on to first and second places. A fortnight after this race, the Essex pair will duke it out for the MSA British Drag Racing Championship crown at Santa Pod’s UK National Finals.

RESULTS:

Qualifiers:

Po. Driver Country Time Speed
1 Michael Gullqvist SWE 6.068 234.89
2 Mats Eriksson  SWE 6.149 234.06
3 Urban Johansson SWE 6.171 220.12
4 Marc Meihuizen NED 6.175 233.60
5 Robert Joosten NED 6.246 227.87
6 Bruno Bader SUI 6.265 226.91
7 Roger Johansson SWE 6.282 225.66
8 Johan Lindberg SWE 6.313 234.99
9 David Vegter NED 6.420 220.14
10 Rolf Ammann SUI 6.601 211.88
11 Marco Maurischat DEU 6.635 221.14
12 Andy Robinson GBR 6.648 229.32
13 Norbert Kuno DEU 6.667 172.41
14 Roger Moore GBR 6.828 205.19
15 Graham Ellis GBR 6.992 202.42
16 Jean Dulamon FRA 7.084 202.45
Non-qualifiers:
17 Philip Englefield GBR 7.118 202.39
18 Andy Frost GBR 7.232 199.80
19 Nick Davies GBR 7.422 221.10
20 Wayne Nicholson GBR 7.544 161.34
21 Marcus Hilt SUI 8.780 200.64
22 Linda Thun Tønseth NOR 20.494 35.96

ELIMINATIONS:

Round 1:
Johan Lindberg 9.343sec, 95.03mph def. David Vegter 6.398, 202.56 DQ R/L
Roger Johansson 6.689, 209.87 def. Rolf Ammann 6.753, 204.42
Bruno Bader 6.243, 225.56 def. Marco Maurischat no time DQ crossed C/L
ALT. Philip Englefield 7.212, 199.04 def. Robert Joosten 7.534, 133.39
Marc Meihuizen 6.234, 231.38 def. Norbert Kuno 10.090, 109.91 DQ R/L
Urban Johansson 6.106, 231.30 def. Roger Moore 7.209, 191.40
Mats Eriksson 6.123, 230.49 def. Graham Ellis 6.534, 208.94
Michael Gullqvist 7.690, 166.67 def. Jean Dulamon 9.622, 92.56

Round 2:
Johan Lindberg 6.307, 232.86 def. Michael Gullqvist 9.264, 101.21 DQ C/L
Marc Meihuizen 6.365, 231.36 def. Philip Englefield 6.936, 213.09
Mats Eriksson 6.078, 234.08 def. Roger Johansson 9.301, 91.77
Urban Johansson 6.159, 230.00 def. Bruno Bader 6.526, 221.45

Semi-final:
Johan Lindberg 16.171, 68.65 def. Mark Meihuizen 6.219, 232.59 DQ R/L
Urban Johansson 6.621, 223.36 def. Mats Eriksson 7.829, 155.21

Final:
Urban Johansson 6.204, 223.39 def. Johan Lindberg 6.137, 234.07 DQ R/L

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  6.068sec. – Michael Gullqvist
Top Speed of the Event:  234.99mph – Johan Lindberg

Personal-best performances set during event:
Nick Davies: 221.10
Andy Frost: 7.232, 199.80
Marcus Hilt: 200.64
David Vegter: 6.398, 220.14

The 2011 points table is on the Rounds & Points page.