FIA EC Round 2 Sweden 2013.
Arrivel at Tierp Arena.
The trucks arrived Tierp Arena Thursday and it was raining pretty much the rest of the day. There is no fun being a racer when you have to rig your gear with wet pants and the rain keep reminding you of the possibility of no racing. All drag racers hate rain, thats a fact proven many many times through out history.
But there were things to catch and stuff to do so the crews started working on the assembly of our race cars. RFM proved to be a bit of an international team this weekend with crew people from England, America, Finland, Sweden and Norway, thank god we all speak english!
One big change this weekend was that one of our dragsters was hired by Swedish racer Mikael Kagered and was on display in his pit area. This meant that the RFM crew had to adjust their routines a bit, but after a short while everything fell in order. Mikael also had some of his own crew guys with him to help out, but to be on the safe side RFM owner Rune Fjeld wanted the RFM crew to be in charge to provide Mikael with the safest and fastest dragster possible.
At the Eagle Motorsport Racing truck Antti and the rest of the guys were present, preparing the RFM dragster. Before this season started Antti had planned to race at least five championship rounds, but after his first victory in round one he was now pretty keen on doing a whole season. The result of this round would give him some pointers of what to do.
Jari had the look of a tiger this day, so everybody knew he was going to race hard this weekend. The RFM race car was in good shape and Gary could tell that if just the rain would dissapear they could promise to give every single competitor in the Top Fuel field a race for their money. American tuner Jim Walsh was taking care of the tune up for Jari this weekend.
We also had brought with us the newly bought DSR dragster. Rune and his long time friend, and old racer, Steinar started working on this car, checking out bits and pieces. The plan was to assemble the rear part and get it rolling. This was made possible since we did not have any dragster in our own pit this weekend.
Race Day 1.
We woke up to greyish weather, but no rain. All three cars was prepared for warm-ups and everything went well. Mikael could tell that his «new» race car was a bit tight in the cocpit and that he had to adjust his riding style a bit. He is used to have a bit more room for his legs and arms but the RFM dragster is buildt the hardcore way, agressive and fast, but of course Mikael was up for this after some seconds of fiddling around, leaving him with an optimistic feeling before qual 1. Antti and Jari prepared as normal in finnish style, silent and stonefaced, leaving no question about what was about to happen. Come race day and all finns turns into this mood.
1: Antti Horto 4.071 (RFM)
2: Stig Neergaard 4.185
3: Jari Halinen 4.240 (RFM)
4: Anita Mäkelä 4.249
5: Thomas Nataas 9.399
6: Mikael Kagered 9.758 (RFM)
7: Timo Lehtimäki 9.799
It started raining when all cars were in the line-up so we had to pull under the roof and wait for better weather. After about 15 minutes it was ready and Mikael was our first car out. Everthing went well with the two crews working together but some minor adjustments and bugs had to be cleared out of the engine since the run was aborted just out from the light. Jari was up next and nailed the startlight and made a great steady run. Tuner Jim Walsh was also pretty happy with the first run but when they returned to pits it was easy to see that they had some work to do. Jari had a replacement engine to fit so that was no worry . Antti was up with Anita by his side, as so many times before. Both left good but Antti pulled a stormer with a new PB on the ET and finished as number one qualifier after Q1. The heads on the engine was hurt so they decided not to race Q2, but as the rain started poor down big time right in the middle of Q2 that session was canceled. This was lucky for us in a way since Thomas Nataas made a 4.03 run wich should have made him qualifier number one. Mikael also went down the track before the rain started. He did a 6.8 run with still some minor bugs to be fixed before we could be pleased with the cars performance. The day faded out to the sound of the poor man`s blues, rain dripping on the roof.
Race day 2
Perfect weather and a world class track was what we woke up to on race day 2. The track was so good that the Pro Stock cars started to running faster times than what you could expect in the states. That sounded good in our ears so we lined up three cars ready for Q 3 infront of two packed grandstands, over 20 000 visitors this day. Mikael and Jari went out together, Mikael improved a bit with a 5.7 run, not as good as Rune would hope for but still getting better. Jari did a steady 4.2 run with a brand new engine fitted. Antti did not improve his time from qual 1 but was still running strong, he lost his number 1 position to Thomas Nataas, who made yet a 4.03 run. Fair enough since his 4.03 in Q2 was cancelled due to the rain. We are now chasing records here at Tierp and we will try to tune our cars smart and hard.
Standing after Q3:
1 Thomas Nataas 4.036
2 Antti Horto 4.071
3 Stig Neergaard 4.092
4 Anita Mäkelä 4.204
5 Jari Halinen 4.250
6 Patric Pers 4.501
7 Mikael Kagered 5.778
8 Timo Lehtimäki 7.682
The last qual for this weekend did not turn out good for Mikael. A flash and a bang was the end of that run and he just rolled cross the finish line. The competitor in the other lane caused a 1000 feet oil leak so while the track crew worked their buts off, PR Manager Polly could take a nap in the sunny weather. After about an hour of waiting Jari was up. He smached the pedal to the metal and did a great 4.11 run, and by that climbing the qualification ladder one step from 5 to number 4. Antti wanted to spare his engine, since he had a realy good time from qual 1, so he did not run Q4.
There have been set a lot of new records today in all classes, and we can not argue that this track here in Sweden in turning better and better as times goes by.
Final qualification standings after Q4:
1 Stig Neergaard
2 Thomas Nataas
3 Antti Horto
4 Jari Halinen
5 Anita Mäkelä
6 Patrik Pers
7 Mikael Kagered
8 Timo Lehtimäki
Race day 3.
As the sun chased the rain away it was game on for the first elimination round. The class host did give us a bit of a surprise giving us the one hour sign, so we had to hurry up with our morning coffe and start doing the warm-ups of the cars. And as Jim Walsh nicely put it with the words; «all cars are girls» the struggle was on, but just as you must threat you girl good you must also keep your race car happy, and this is what we do best of course..
Mikael was up against Thomas Nataas. Antti was facing Patrik Pers, and Jari was paired up with Anita Mäkelä. We knew that Rune and the crew had to get the Mikaels race car run much better than the previous rounds since Thomas Nataas had been strong all weekend. We figured that Antti would have a good chance on beating Patrik Pers and that it would be even odds on Jari against Anita. With this in mind we rolled out of the pits and headed for the pairing lanes.
First out was Jari and Anita. With a 0.157 in reaction time Jari was ahead of Anita all the 1000 feet and drove him self into the semifinal with a 4.108@475 km/h run. Then it was Antti`s turn to beat the track. He was very determined to make a good light and with a 0.155 in reaction the race was on. First side by side but halfway Antti pulled ahead and crossed the line at 4.092@480 km/h. Mikael was against Thomas Nataas and the Andersen brothers from Denmark. An oil leak made by Patrik Pers in the previous run held us up some time, but when the run was on it didn't look to affect the left lane where Mikael was. It was a great side by side run all the way but sadly Mikael was just a tiny bit after Thomas crossing the line. Thomas told me he looked to his left just before the finishing line getting nervous because he could still see Micke very clear. The time Mikael got was 4.153@467 km/h loosing to a 4.08. After first elimination we got two out of three RFM cars into the semi finals.
Both Jari and Antti lost in the semi finals. Jari had the blower belt come off and had to back off the throttle. Antti and Thomas both went up in smoke at the same time and the pedal fest was on, but he was not able to pull up in front so then it was game over for all RF Motorsport race cars. But we are not one bit unhappy, both Antti and Jari gained a lot of championship points and PB`s and i do belive Antti still is leading , but this we need to confirm first by FIA. The race cars were perfect this weekend doing 4 zeros and ones almost in every run and Rune managed to sort out the bugs in the former TF1 car, leaving this with a strong last run as well. Next FIA EC round is in Finland on the 4th of july and we are coming back with a desire to win this one. Mikael will not be driving our dragster in Finland, but maybe someone else will..... Stay tuned!!
See pictures from Tierp here and video down under.