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The FIA European Drag Racing Championship has reached its climax with this weekend’s European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway, the traditional grand finale of the season. In all four categories, the championship titles are yet to be decided.
In Top Fuel, Antti Horto is the strong favourite to claim his maiden FIA drag racing title, while in Pro Stock Jimmy Ålund is on the course to clinch his 12th European crown in the category. Jan Ericsson is the leader in Pro Modified, but the reigning champion can’t afford any mistake in the upcoming round. Top Methanol’s title fight is wide open with only 12 points between reigning champion and current leader Sandro Bellio and the Hockenheim round winner Jonny Lagg.
There’s a three-way title fight in FIA EDRC’s top class, with all the contenders being race winners this season. Antti Horto has been the most consistent of the three, owing to a win in the season-opening round at Santa Pod backed up by two runner-up finishes.
As a result, the driver from Åland, Finland enjoys a 35-point advantage over Ida Zetterström, who has impressed over the course of the year, with a runner-up finish at Santa Pod and a victory at Tierp Arena. Susanne Callin sits third in the standings, 51 points behind Horto. After two difficult outings, Callin bounced back with a great win at the penultimate round held at the Hockenheimring.
Jan Ericsson can clinch his second Pro Modified crown in a row at Santa Pod this weekend. The Swede started the season on a high, with a great win, and setting a European record, at Santa Pod, but mixed fortunes at Tierp and the Hockenheimring compromised his campaign. He holds on to the championship lead mainly thanks to his main rivals scoring inconsistently.
Ericsson is still in the lead with a 48-point advantage over the second-best driver of the season, Andres Arnover. The Estonian had a far from trouble-free season so far, but he has still been the most consistent competitor of Ericsson’s pursuers with a runner-up finish at Hockenheim being the highlight of his season.
David Vegter rounds out the top three, only five points off Arnover. After his runner-up finish at Santa Pod the Dutchman seemed to be the biggest threat for Ericsson. But due to bad luck at Tierp and mechanical problems at Hockenheim, Vegter’s campaign lost momentum.
Michel Tooren moved into fourth place in the standings with his great win at Hockenheim and currently is 13 points down on Vegter. The title remains a long shot for him, but he’s still very much in contention for the runner-up spot.
Fifth is yet another Dutch racer, Marck Harteveld, who recorded his best result of the season at Tierp with a runner-up finish but lost valuable points at Santa Pod. The fight for the second position in the championship between Arnover, Vegter, Tooren and Harteveld will be something to keep an eye on.
Reigning champion and points leader Sandro Bellio is another driver who started his season on a high to then hit trouble further down the road. Bellio won Santa Pod’s season-opener, but a fire in qualifying at Tierp meant the Belgian team had to rebuild the car. Bellio was back in action at Hockenheim where he took a runner-up finish to maintain his championship lead. Only 12 points short of Bellio is Jonny Lagg, thus the second title for the racer from Belgium is far from secured. Lagg missed the opening round at Santa Pod but made it up with a runner-up finish at Tierp and a victory at Hockenheim.
Linn Fløysvik is third in the championship and only 28 points behind Lagg. The Funny Car driver from Norway scored points in all three races, but first-round exit at Hockenheim compromised her title chances.
After his win at the Hockenheimring, Jimmy Ålund is leading the championship with a comfortable 35-point advantage over Michael Malmgren and only the most unfortunate turn of events can prevent Ålund from clinching his 12th FIA drag racing title. Malmgren, a runner-up at Tierp, lost valuable points after pulling a red light in the first round at Hockenheim. Stefan Ernryd is only three points down on Malmgren in what is a wide-open battle for second in the final standings.
Qualifying for the European Finals will start on Friday and will continue on Saturday 10th of September. Elimination runs will start on Sunday morning.
FIA EDRC – Round 4, Santa Pod Raceway entry list
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