Finland is Jimmy Ålund’s new favorite country thanks to victories in Pro Mod and Pro Stock at the third race of the 2018 European FIA Drag Racing season, the Finland Hot Rod Association (FHRA) Nitro Nationals in early July. It marked the first time ever that one driver has won both FIA Pro Mod and FIA Pro Stock on the same afternoon.
Due to rain delays on Friday, there were only three qualifying runs in Pro Mod. Ålund drove Magnus Petersson’s The Old 51 Chevrolet Business Coupe to the Number One qualifying spot, but it wasn’t pretty. Ålund only made it to the finish line twice, and just once under full power.
“We had issues with the shut-off box and tire shake, but got that one 6.86 second run. It was enough for the top spot,” Ålund said.
Sunday’s eliminations were the complete opposite of qualifying. Ålund won the first round with the second quickest ET of the round. A bye run in Round 2 put him in the semifinals, where he ran the quickest ET of the round to take the win and go into the finals against reigning FIA Pro Mod champion Micke Gullqvist. Ålund left hard while Gullqvist ran into problems; The Old 51 crossed the finish line first with a 5.92 second pass to Gullqvist’s 6.55.
The win at Alastaro extended Ålund’s points lead in the 2018 FIA Pro Mod championship.
The qualifying demons that plagued Ålund in Pro Mod followed him to Pro Stock. He qualified dead last with slowest ET ever for an FIA Pro Stock car, a less than stellar 19.08 seconds. What’s worse, the Summit Racing Camaro never made it to the finish line under full power.
“There are firsts for everything,” Ålund explained “To add insult to injury, a hopped-up agricultural combine harvester had us covered by more than three seconds during its exhibition runs.”
“We went through the whole car, everything,” Ålund continued. “We concluded that the problem was in the tires. We had tested all of the tires we brought along, but no-go. Then fellow racer Michael Malmgren stepped up and let us have a set of his tires for Sunday’s eliminations. We can’t thank Michael enough for his generosity.”
Just as in Pro Mod, Pro Stock eliminations turned out totally different than qualifying. Ålund won the quarter- and semifinals, running the quickest ETs and fastest speeds in both rounds. And like in Pro Mod, Ålund went up against the reigning class champion in the finals. He did his job one last time and won the race over Bengt Ljungdahl.
“We didn’t know if the problem was solved until we got to the 60 foot mark in the quarter finals,” Ålund said. “To say that we struggled in qualifying would be the understatement of the century. But like the saying goes, ‘it ain’t over ’til it’s over,’ and Sunday turned out just perfect for both The Old 51 Pro Mod Car and the Summit Racing Pro Stock Camaro.”
The next event on the FIA European Drag Race Series schedule is the NitrOlympX, August 17-19 at the Hockenheimring in Hockenheim, Germany. Ålund will be driving The Old 51 in Pro Mod, and leaving the Pro Stocker at home.
“As always, we can’t wait to get there and put more rounds in the car in front of the record crowd that is the trademark of the NitrOlympx,” Ålund said.