FIA / FIM European Championships Round 1
Santa Pod Raceway, 23rd-26th May 2014


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Latest update 20:35

Top Methanol Dragster racer Dave Wilson's first qualifying pass was 5.86/249 with cylinders out. He said 'We are running the car as a show to sell it and it is priced at £110,000 complete with trailer and everything needed to run it. I will also help in the tuning in the first year. I can also do a deal on an event basis which costs £2,500 plus £1,000 per run'. Dave thanks Silverline Tools for their support.

Top Methanol Dragster racer Johnny Lagg ran a 5.87/212 finding that all the cylinders were out by the far end. Crew member Krister Johansson (pictured right) said 'The linkage to the mags came off which made the engine timing wrong'. Hopefully the linkage will hold next time.

Top Methanol Dragster racer Manty Bugeja like many others in the class is racing in FIA for the first time since 2012. He said 'We ran twice in Malta to keep the car running for coming back but was not able to test on Thursday. We changed some minor parts but have a different setup now so our previous data is no longer helpful. We will need to climb the ladder again'. Manty said he is keeping US tuner Norm Grimes, who helped to give the team 5.2s performance in 2012, up to date with developments over the phone.

Top Methanol Dragster racer Chris Polidano has US tuner Jerry Darien helping the team. Crew chief Chris Farruga said 'Jerry helped by preparing the parts and sending them and we put them together and we work together on the tuning'. Chris did not receive a time as he rolled the beams, but the team were aware of the reason for this. 'The engine rpms came down on the burnout and the carbon fibre brakes did not heat up as much as they should, so they couldn't hold the car on the line,' said Chris. 'The data log indicated a run in the 5.3s at around 267mph'.

Top Methanol Funny Car racer Gareth Ellis ran a 5.99/243. He said 'The car shook on the run but I stayed with it to get a baseline as we weren't able to get one on Thursday. We had no computer at Easter as the software wasn't working but we collected some data on that run but not from every channel. I am driving to the shift light rather than short shifting as we need to see what the car will do on full power'.

Top Methanol Funny Car racer Ju¨rgen Nagel ran a 5.89/204 to go no.2 in the first session. He said 'We made some changes including a shorter wheelie bar which has improved the launch, together with different clutch setting and gears. We also have a data logger. The burst panel went at the top end and unfortunately there is some bodywork damage that we are working on. The fuel pressure came down after second gear and it leaned out, it's the first time we have had this problem even though we had the fuel pump tested by Randy Anderson'. Ju¨rgen is grateful for the support from new sponsor Classic Oil.

Top Methanol Funny Car racer Steph Milam ran 6.61/221.44. She said 'After testing at Easter when the car left too aggresively we made a small change to the transmission. It didn't yield anything on that pass but it left much better than at Easter. We are moving forwards and the dramas we had with the cylinder heads seem to be put to bed and everything was where it should be and servicing the engine was routine'. Steph and Dave were sent team mascot George which was rapidly reclothed in red and features on the team's Facebook page.

Top Methanol Dragster racers Timo and Dennis Habermann ran their first full passes with a new PSI setup replacing the old Whipplecharger. Timo ran a PB of 5.313/267, which compares to the quickest run for a Miner Bros/Fontana engine of 5.29. Werner Habermann said 'There is a big difference in tuning from before but Timo and Dennis have worked out the new system without outside help and have done a great job. Timo's run could have been quicker as he lost a cylinder 20ft before the end and had to pedal once'. The team tested with a 100ft launch for Dennis on Thursday, who suffered tyre shake on a 5.50/262 run.

Top Fuel racer Jari Halinen, who had planned on sitting out 2014, was sleeping last night when he received an unexpected call from RFM boss Rune Fjeld. 'I said 'Who the **** is this'? I was sorry to hear that Chris was hurt and Rune asked me to come on the next available plane from Helsinki to Heathrow where I was collected by the team. I haven't driven this car but it is a very good one. We need to adjust the pedals and look at the seat for me to fit in and look forward to running as soon as the weather gets better'.

Top Fuel racer Tethys made two licensing passes last weekend to upgrade from Top Methanol Dragster. Both were successful, the second being 4.250/269.55mph. He said 'The goal is to go from A to B. There are nine cars racing this weekend and I don't want to be ninth. It's been a great experience. The launch on a Top Fuel car is even quicker than the A/Fuel car, a tenth quicker to 60ft, but you really start to notice the difference after 330ft when the car pulls strongly. It was awesome on both runs and on the second it was pretty much a full pass apart from a little shake towards the end'. Tethys reminded us he had worked on a Top Fuel crew a decade ago for Smax Smith driving a car owned by Knut Soderquist. 'I didn't expect to be doing this at the start of the year. But the opportunity to drive presented itself for this event and everything fell into place, which is amazing'.

Pro Mod racer and sponsor Chris Isaacs is looking forward to doing a final licensing pass in the Isaacs & Tramm Duster. 'The build was relatively trouble free and there were no real issues with the electronics. The car has proved to be reliable in running although we turned down the performance a lot at Easter so we didn't expect to hurt anything. One important development was putting information into the ECU for the launch control and we thank Mike Moran for supplying a baseline which shortened the learning curve. Now we have that baseline I am doing the tuning although Mike is available if required. The chassis is my own design and I was pleased it worked well at Easter. There needs to be one more run sub-7.4 for the license to be signed off and that will count as a qualifying pass'.

Pro Mod racer and blogger Andy Frost opted not to install the electromotive safety shut-off system however this resulted in the car being disallowed to run in the class and Andy moving to Comp Eliminator. The team's concern is that, with turbos and a torque convertor, if the automatic shut off system operates at speed there will be a lack of oil pressure to the convertor, resulting in overheating and potential damage.

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