Santa Pod (England), September 9, 2014 – Five-second runs, the number three qualifying position and a well-deserved final in eliminations. Immediately after the start of the final it seemed like nobody could stop MPM-driver Marc Meihuizen from winning Pro Modified at the European Finals at Santa Pod. But suddenly the dream turned into a nightmare as the Pontiac went sideways and hit the wall very hard. Instead of a 100% win and trophy, Meihuizen and his JWR Racing ended the season with a heavily damaged car. “Very sad. As a team and driver we didn’t do anything wrong this weekend, but suddenly it went out of control”, said runner-up Meihuizen. With a sixth position Meihuizen once again was the best Dutchman in the FIA European Championship, but that couldn’t make Meihuizen happy at all.
The European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway was the fifth and final round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship. Two weeks ago, at the great Tierp Arena track, MPM-driver Marc Meihuizen showed his great form again, and as the Santa Pod track was good and the weather conditions perfect too, record runs seemed to be possible. At good tracks the JWR Racing ’68 Pontiac Firebird can use all its power and so Meihuizen and crewchief Joeri Woudenberg were looking forward to start qualifying.
And with good reasons; the first qualifying run was a 6.05 sec, immediately followed by a 5.983 sec. Once again a 5-second run and again the MPM-driver proved to be one of the fastest Pro Mod-drivers in Europe. After the first day Meihuizen was the number two qualifier in the nineteen car field. On the second day of qualifying a 6.09 and 6.08 sec proved the ’68 Pontiac Firebird was not only fast, but consistent too. But still, the MPM-driver was not 100% happy, as he knew he could have done better. “There is a 5.8 sec in the car, there is so much more to come. At the end of first gear we still have tyre shake. If we can solve that, we can easily go into the 5.8”, said Meihuizen, who ended qualifying in third position.
In the first round of eliminations Meihuizen proved to be ‘the man to beat’ on raceday. His winning 5.941 sec was the best run of the day and second of the whole event! In the quarter finals Meihuizen had to face Roger Johansson, the fast Swede with his nitrous Mustang. In a close run Meihuizen had the better reaction time and E.T. (6.05 and 6.06 sec) and advanced to the semi-finals, where the JWR Racing-driver defeated number two qualifier and local hero Andy Robinson.
In the final Meihuizen had to face new crowned FIA European champion Mattias Wulcan. In the semi-final the ’68 Pontiac suffered tyre shake, but the MPM-driver could ‘drive through it’, so the team was looking forward to a successful final. Meihuizen had a better reaction time, was in front and after a few meters, the race already seemed to be won. But then, like in the semi-finals, the Pontiac was hit by severe tyre shake and although it looked like Meihuizen could control the car, it suddenly went sideways, out of control and hit the wall with the right side of the car. Meihuizen was unharmed in the crash, but that couldn’t be said about the JWR Racing Pontiac. The body work, but also underneath, the car was severely damaged. What should have been the best possible end of the season, turned into a disaster. “As a team and driver we didn’t do anything wrong all weekend and proved once again we’re in the top two of the fastest European Pro Mods. We could have won this race, but then it’s all over. Very, very sad”, said Meihuizen. Despite his bad luck, Meihuizen attended the prize ceremony, knowing he should have been on top of the podium and not in the number two position.
For MPM-driver Meihuizen and his JWR Racing team the season is over now. In the next few weeks the team will look how bad the damage to the ’68 Pontiac really is and how they can fix it. In the FIA European Pro Modified Championship Meihuizen was number six in the ranking and once again the best Dutchman in this most competitive and international category of the championship.
Dragracing FIA European Championship FIA European Finals Main event Marc Meihuizen MPM Racing MPM Sports Pro mod Santa Pod
- Remco Scheelings
- Remco Scheelings