Pro Modified Review FHRA Nitro Nationals
Is Bruno Bader getting the jitters? Twice now in succession, the usually steady Swiss racer has ended races with red lights. Bader still leads the FIA Pro Mod Championship at the season’s halfway point but the advantage he established with a commanding victory at Santa Pod’s opening round has been whittled down to just 23 points after two more events. If he has slipped from contention by season’s end, might his brace of cherries at Tierp and Alastaro be seen as the turning point?

Perhaps not. Bader has not exactly thrown away certain winners. His Tierp opponent, Johan Lindberg, clocked 6.039sec in the other lane, a mite quicker than Bader’s personal best (6.103), while his Alastaro false start was one of a pair – opponent Mats Eriksson was marginally slower in leaving too soon (-0.043) than Bader (-0.168). Nevertheless, if Bader is developing a drag racing version of a golfer’s “yips”, it could spoil what is shaping up to be an intriguing championship battle.

Mats Eriksson seems to like Alastaro. He won here last year and had reached this season’s final before it was rained off. This race had looked set to be another Michael Gullqvist sweep. As at Tierp, the reigning, and double, FIA champion had accumulated all the main statistics – low qualifier, low ET and top speed of the meet; only a European record was missing. The wishbone rear end locator broke  for Gullqvist in the run towards Eriksson, with that the car started moving close to uncontrollable sideways and  Micke´s effort to slow down the  speed as quick as possible resulted in a deflated front tyre. The whole chain of action put a deifinite halt to Gullqvist’s further success and competition at Alastaro for this time.

Eriksson’s opponent on the money run would have been Fredrik Fagerström, making his first final-round appearance in FIA Pro Mod – though, lest we forget, “Fast Freddy” did achieve the Top Methanol Funny Car final at Mantorp during his 2007 Pro Mod sabbatical year which he ended as FIA TMFC champion. And Fagerström might well have beaten Eriksson too, having qualified third to Eriksson’s tenth and been quicker than the hairy-handling “Green Goblin”in all but the opening round of eliminations.

Another luminary rising to the fore this season from Sweden’s seemingly inexhaustible Pro Mod supply is Bert-Ove Olofsson. Though hardly a newcomer to the scene, veteran chassis-builder “Bertan” has not previously mounted a significant FIA championship challenge. Currently he lies third in the points behind Bader and Gullqvist, having clocked a new personal-best ET in qualifying (the event’s only Pro Mod PB) and made it to the semi-final, where Fagerström beat him.

Robert Joosten guided into stage position by crew member Jan Selles

Pro Mod driver Johan Lindberg with mum Ritha who is an important player in the extensive Lindberg Bros two car team, always caring for the well being of everyone. Johan and brother Jonnie did not have the most successful  weekend at  Alastaro..

Bertan’s points score might have been higher still. At Santa Pod’s opening round, engine damage prevented him contesting the final against Bader. At Tierp’s Sweden Internationals in June, two aborted qualifying attempts on Friday left him outside the field and Saturday’s rain-out washed away his chances for good. Anything approaching the 5.97sec test pass he had run at Tierp in May would have placed him comfortably near the top of the Sweden Internationals field and may yet come to haunt his fellow contenders in the season’s three remaining races.

In other news, Marco Maurischat’s two Friday qualifying passes were disallowed; recent chassis modifications inadvertently tripping the lights appeared to be the culprit. Maurischat’s 6.821 on Saturday was sufficient to place him 12th in the short, 13-car field which ran on a 16-car ladder. Alastaro’s organisers, like Santa Pod’s at The Main Event, evidently obtained exemption from the peculiar FIA Sporting Regulation 6.2 which mandates that “the minimum number of qualified cars for a 16-car ladder is 19”. (Question of logic: how do you fit 19 “qualified” cars on to a 16-car ladder? Three, by definition, are non-qualifiers.)

To conclude, another word on Fredrik Fagerström and his hallowed 1966 C-10 Chevy. It seems scarce time ago that we were all marvelling at the sheer, outrageous notion of a 6-second pickup truck. While we were marvelling, Fast Freddy busied himself getting ever quicker. At Tierp last month, he clocked 6.049. Next stop, the 5’s. Let’s say that again – next stop, the 5’s – and pause to relish it for a moment.

However many wonders of the Pro Mod world America might claim, a 5-second pickup truck is not among them.

The next round in the FIA European Drag Racing Championship is the NitrOlympx at HockenheimRing in Germany August 10-12th. Stay tuned for a NitrOlympx Preview in the next edition!

Micke Gullqvist and Freddy Fagerstöm, both relaxed in the pits the day before the race started



                                             Best  ET    MPH    Km/H    Km/h
1.    Michael Gullqvist    SWE    5.989    241.48    388.62   
2.    Bert-Ove Olofsson    SWE    6.153    230.24    370.53   
3.    Fredrik Fagerström    SWE    6.164    230.59    371.10   
4.    Bruno Bader    SUI    6.175    227.50    366.12   
5.    Robert Joosten    NED    6.253    221.29    356.13    360.03
6.    Marc Meihuizen    NED    6.278    232.44    374.07   
7.    Johan Lindberg    SWE    6.281    233.58    375.91   
8.    Kristian Nyström    FIN    6.282    219.94    353.96   
9.    Paul ‘Tami’ Brander    FIN    6.347    216.14    347.84   
10.   Mats Eriksson    SWE    6.354    224.83    361.83   
11.   Marko Lantto    FIN    6.620    218.28    351.29   
12.   Marco Maurischat    GER    6.821    211.22    339.92   
13.   Jari Parén    FIN    7.351    184.01    296.13


Round 1:
Michael Gullqvist 6.001sec, 386.86km/h-240.38mph bye
Kristian Nyström 6.417, 344.69-214.18 def. Johan Lindberg 10.587, 113.25-70.37
Bruno Bader 6.226, 361.37-224.54 def. Marko Lantto 6.788, 335.20-208.28 DQ R/L
Mats Eriksson 6.329, 372.34-231.36 def. Robert Joosten 6.774, 219.42-136.34
Bert-Ove Olofsson 7.147, 219.38-136.32 def. Jari Parén no show
Fredrik Fagerström 6.331, 367.61-228.42 def. Marco Maurischat 8.286, 198.24-123.18
Marc Meihuizen 6.861, 346.92-215.57 def. Tami Brander 7.849, 224.03-139.21

Round 2:
Michael Gullqvist 6.038, 385.62-239.61 def. Kristian Nyström 6.308, 362.19-225.05
Mats Eriksson 6.616, 363.64-225.96 (R/L) def. Bruno Bader 6.234, 364.01-226.19 DQ R/L
Bert-Ove Olofsson 6.311, 361.65-224.72 bye
Fredrik Fagerström 6.180, 372.24-231.30 def. Marc Meihuizen 7.751, 213.62-132.74

Mats Eriksson 6.491, 365.02-226.81 def. Michael Gullqvist 7.866, 202.00-125.52
Fredrik Fagerström 6.275, 367.89-228.60 def. Bert-Ove Olofsson 6.356, 368.83-229.18

Rained off.

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  5.989sec. – Michael Gullqvist
Top Speed of the Event:  388.62km/h / 241.48mph – Michael Gullqvist

Personal-best performances set during event: Bert-Ove Olofsson 6.153 sec

Fast Freddy Fagerströms very cool and raw truck is a favourite by the crowd.

Mats Eriksson guided back after the burnout by young Harley

The wishbone rear end locator broke for Gullqvist in the semi-final run. His efforts to get the car to stop as quick as possible resulted in a deflated front tyre

Text: Robin Jackson 
Photos: Lena Perés & Åsa Kinnemar

This article is part of the Speedgroup Club Europe Newsletter #9/2012

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