After eight months of waiting, drag racing engines are roaring with thousands of horsepower again as the traditional opening of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship, the Main Event, which takes place at the Santa Pod circuit in the UK, is set to kick off its five-round schedule this weekend
BEST FAVORITE FUEL FEMALE TITLES
Top Fuel, the fastest class in drag racing, will likely have a new name celebrating later in the year as reigning champion Antti Horto will only compete in the two Swedish rounds, which will be held at the Tierp Arena.
The battle for the title will be fierce, however, as six players entered the season opener in the top flight, half of whom are women. Susanne Callin is one of the favorites after finishing the 2022 season on a high note with wins at Hockenheimring and Santa Pod.
Strong competition should come from Ida Zetterström. In her rookie Top Fuel season last year, she impressed by resetting the European ET Record to 3.782s (becoming the first driver in Europe to break into the 3.7s zone) and winning at the Tierp Arena in her only second Top Fuel Fuel Trip.
The third Top Fuel driver on the Main Event entry list is Jndia Erbacher. In 2022, the Swiss competitor only competed in NitrOlympX and immediately impressed. With a mileage of 318.96 miles per hour, Erbacher holds the European speed record.
Along with Duncan Micallef, a driver with a title-winning pedigree is on the entry list. After winning the 2017 Top Fuel Championship, Micallef took a break from full-time racing. Now, the President of the Maltese Motorsports Federation will make history as his performance with the FIA EDRC will be the first participation of a current FIA Member Club head in an FIA sanctioned drag racing event.
BEST METHANOL, FUNNY CARS VERSUS DRAGSTERS
Sandro Bellio, who won his second consecutive FIA EDRC Top Methanol title last year, is the clear favorite for the Top Methanol title. This year, the Belgian racing driver will drive the new Chevy Monte Carlo body with European records in mind.
His main opponent should be Linn Fløysvik. The young Norwegian driver finished third in his rookie season last year and enters 2023 better prepared than ever, with updates to his Ford Mustang and an extra engine in stock.
The two fun cars Bellio and Fløysvik face strong competition from two dragsters. Top Methanol is the only FIA EDRC class where funny cars and dragsters compete against each other.
Jonny Lagg finished second last year. The Swedish title Top Methanol 2016 will play another full season, certainly with another title in mind.
Unlike Lagg, Silvio Strauch will go to his first full FIA EDRC season. The German had a limited schedule in his first two seasons in the class but managed to impress despite the tire problems he had last season.
EVERYONE PLAYS PRO MODS
Jan Ericsson, the reigning Pro Modified Champion, will be in contention for his third consecutive title driving a familiar orange Chevrolet Camaro that has proven to be fast and consistent over the past few seasons.
However, the competition will be fierce, as this year many more respected competitors and proven winners have joined the race for the title. Multi-champion Michael Gullqvist and Mats Eriksson and Fredrik Fagerström are the three Swedish drivers who ran limited programs last year but have committed to a full schedule this year.
Dutch contingent David Vegter (last year’s runner-up), as well as Michel Tooren (fourth last year) and Marck Harteveld are all hoping to clinch the title, as is Estonia’s Andres Arnover.
PRO STOCK STARTS IN SWEDEN
The Pro Stock class season will kick off with round two of the FIA EDRC, the Sweden International event, to be held at the Tierp Arena in mid-June, with reigning champion Jimmy Ålund starting his title defense on home soil in a class traditionally dominated by Swedish drivers.
Qualifying for the FIA Main Event classes will start on Saturday and continue on Sunday, with qualifying and finals taking place on Monday.