Live updates here all weekend 5 - 7 July. See also Live webstream at www.fhra.fi
Due to a very limited internet line here at Alastaro Raceway in Finland we will keep the updates short! Sorry...
The track was no good at all so we dident expect much but the weather was sunny and warm so we were enjoying ourself anyway. Jari was up against Micke Kagered, and Jari had right lane. As soon as he hit the throttle it went up in smoke and the run was aborted. Jari’s time ended with 10.33 @ 113 km/h
Antti was doing his first qual run up against Thomas Nataas. Left lane was Antti’s spot and this lane had previous shown some serious lack of quality, but the car launched pretty ok but some feet out on the track there was zero grip. 6.121 @ 177 km/h was what the time-slip showed. Thomas, who has driven for RFM many times in past years, did yet again a strong run and was the Q1 after this first session.
Chris Andrews was supposed to run Q1 as well but we made a late call change yesterday to switch over to our new bought DSR dragster since Chris did struggle to get a good driver position in the former TF1 car because the cocpit area in this is very thight. So the crew startet working on building up the DSR car yesterday but it was not quite ready for Q1.
Qual number two was driven in really hot conditions, 30 degres celsius and no wind, but with some water and the smell of nitro we keep marching on!
Jari did a solo run this time and left the line really good, and for a short time it looked like it was gone last, but halfway out he lost the grip and the good time slipped again. 6.077 @ 167 km/h was the time.
Antti was racing Timo Lethimäki but Timo had to shut off after the burn out so Antti was by him self. He also launched good and was picking up some serious speed but once again the grip wasent there and it was over. His time ended at 5.50 @ 205 km/h
Chris DNS because the car was not ready for round two. There is still some more stuff to sort out tonight but tomorrow it will be ready!
Qual list after 2 runs:
Thomas Nataas 4.26
Anita Mäkelä 4.79
Antti Horto (RFM) 5.50
Timo Lethimäki 5.80
Micke Kagered 5.83
Stig Neergaard 5.84
Jari Halinen (RFM) 6.07
Finally we had manage to get the DSR car ready for qual number 3. The crew with Rune in charge had done a fantastic job making this happen, from barely a naked chassie to a full blown Top Fuel dragster in a couple of days with hard work. Chris was calm and collected when he entered his work place with instructions to do the normal rutine. Chris hadent been driving since last september so we were all a bit pumped up, maybe not all since our team boss Mr Fjeld never gets nervous, but we could feel the pressure from the major crowd here at Alastaro that they wanted Chris to make a good run. And he did ok, with some minor problems like a over-sensitive throttle pedal wich made him deep stage a bit. The launch was powerfull and he went away like a bullet but after a short distance it went up in smoke. This could have as much to do with the condition of this left lane he was running as any thing other. His time was 8.36@121 km/h, maybe nothing to write home about but we were all happy and Chris could let his shoulder down.
Next up was the big bear himself, Jari Halinen, always in a good moode and smiling from left to right. Jari has been so lucky this year to have onboard US tuner Jimmy Welsh who replaced his other US tuner Michael, and it looks like the results is coming along very well. Jimmy was also very helpfull buliding up the DSR dragster this weekend so his been really busy running back and furth between our pits. Jari staged his race car and slammed the pedal, making a ok run almost to the top where the tyres went up in smoke, crossing the line at 4.71@276 km/h
Last pair out was Antti, lined up once again with Thomas Nataas. Antti is really on his home track here at Alastaro and has a lot of visitors this day, making the preasure even stronger on his UK tuner Tony Pearson. But the Eagle Racing Motorsport crew is always taking really good care of our RFM dragster and this time was no different. With 25 000 spectators on the grandstands and bankings, and many VIP guest gathering around the start line Antti rolled up to the staging lights and took off as soon as he saw the light go green. The car did well almost to the top but he also lost the grip at the end and went off the throttle to save the engine. 5.00@273 km/h was the result for the young finnish racer.
Now we got one more qual to go before we sum up the result ladder and prepares for the real top fuel battle of tomorrow.
Chris made a great run in this last qual with 4.788@263 km/h. He dropped a cylinder at the end but we were surprised to see a 4 second run in our second run with this car, and Chris is proving how a good driver he is with a smooth and calm way to handle this race car so everyone is happy with the progress so far of this new team/car operation.
Jari and Antti was set up against each others in this last qual. Jari got into trouble in the left lane soon and went up in smoke. Jamie, one of his crew members, mention that the track looked kind of greasy because of the heat the sun is making, and this might explain the troubles with left lane all weekend. Jari did not improve his time with this 6 second run. In the right lane Antti was blasting away hard on the light and it all looked good untill the blowerbelt broke. he also managed to get a flat tyre on the right front. But dispite this he improved his time and finished with 4.513@303 km/h making him the best qualified RFM car this weekend as number 4. With this in mind he now prepares for the finals tomorrow hoping to gain some points in the championship fight against a really strong field like Thomas Nataas, who is leading at this moment and is qual number 1.
Final qualification list after 4 runs:
Thomas Nataas 4.23
Anita Mäkelä 4.46
Timo Lehtimaki 4.49
Antti Horto 4.51
Jari Halinen 4.71
Chris Andrews 4.78
Stig Neergaard 5.52
Mikael Kagered 5.83
Antti was meeting another RFM car with Jari in the first elimination. And it turned out to be a really good drag race, side by side all the way with Antti breaking the beam first, making him go through to the second round. Chris was up against Timo Lethimaki. We could see right off the start that the engine was trying to drop a cylinder and so happend, and thou Chris lost to Timo he still managed to get further down the track then previous runs and improving his time as well this weekend. The finnish spectators are mad about top fuel racing and the reception they gave our drivers when they return from the top end was marvelous, so of course both Jari and Antti had to throw out some t-shirts and do a little waving. Chris as well did get a full applause when he jumped out of the race car doing a bow infront of 20 000 crazy finns.
Thomas Nataas 4.109@465 km/h VS Mikael Kagered 6.130@184 km/h
Antti Horto 4.207@458 km/h VS Jari Halinen 4.275@432 km/h
Anita Mäkelä 4.597@366 km/h VS Stig Neergaard 5.492@205 km/h
Timo Lethimaki 4.46@430 km/h VS Chris Andrews 4.608@301 km/h
With Antti on the start line in the second and last elimination here in Finland RF Motorsport was very happy, not only did the Eagle Racing Motorsport crew, with Tony Pearson tuning the car, manage to get our car to run this well this weekend but also on Antti’s home track was a big achivement in very very hot conditions. Antti facing Thomas Nataas was also a challenge to take on, and when Antti and Thomas left side by side it was nervwrecking. They both went up in smoke but you could see that Antti was determent to have this win so he stepped it again and run past Thomas just before the finishline. With this win we achived two things, first we had one car in the final against Anita Mäkelä, just like in England at the first round, second of all Antti with this round win was in the position to gain some pionts on Thomas in the championship as well. All the crew guys from both Chris and Jari stepped in to by stand if help was needed in Antti’s pit to make sure the RFM dragster was in the best shape posible before the final.
Antti 4.517@372 km/h VS Thomas Nataas 4.558@295 km/h
Anita Mäkelä 4.591@379 km/h VS Timo Lethimaki 4.910@315 km/h
It was like a finnish sauna inside the cocpit of Anttis car when a oil leak on the track made us wait in the sun for about 40 minutes before he was given the signal to fire up. Crew Chief Tony decided to swap lanes before they did their burn out. Lights went on and the race was about halfway when the tyres went up in smoke. Anita rushed by and took the victory of this round, leaving Antti as runner up and still in the chase for the championship.
RF Motorsport congratulates Anita and the team for a well earned win, but we also promise to make it the next time around;-)