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Exclusive interview with Micke Kågered
We spoke to 1999 FIA European Top Methanol Funny Car Champion Micke Kågered in the week leading up to the 2000 Cannonball at Santa Pod Raceway. Micke has won the Cannonball on more than one occasion and was hoping to do the same this season.
The interview was conducted via E-Mail. Many thanks to Micke Kågered and to team administrator Åsa Kinnemar for their time, and to Kjell Petterson for helping to set up the interview.
Eurodragster: Are you happy with the season so far?
Micke Kågered: No, not really. Two third places at the Main Event and in Finland is not good enough for us. However, we ran consistent and fast during the last event so we have good hopes for the coming season.
Eurodragster: Did your new car take a lot of getting used to or is one car very much like another to drive?
Micke Kågered: It is very different from my old car and it behaves differently on the starting line, a fact that gives me a hard time to deliver consistent reaction times and that is what kept us out of the final in Finland. We still have to make some minor adjustments with the pedal setup and then I hope we will be fine.
Eurodragster: Who do you most fear might take your FIA Championship away from you?
Micke Kågered: The last three years Leif Andréasson has been my toughest competitor, and since he is leading now he has the best chance, but I must say I am very impressed with the performance of Leif Helander, who has run brilliantly on a very tight budget and also with the Leanders brothers who are really competitive right now. If Urs Erbacher runs the remaining FIA events, we cannot count him out either...
Eurodragster: It's the Cannonball next weekend. It is a very special race for fans and racers, but with three and maybe four runs to make in a relatively short time, it must be very tiring for both the driver and the crew?
Micke Kågered: No, actually, it is the opposite way. The Cannonball race is the one most relaxed and enjoyable for us, where we run for fun without the pressure of scoring points. Under these circumstances we have shown to be very competitive in the past, so we are very much looking forward to this weekend!
Eurodragster: Do you have any favourite Cannonball memories?
Micke Kågered: It must be when I won the Cannonball title over Rune Fjeld in 1990. I was still a rookie then, so it was a major thing to beat one of the "big guys"!
Eurodragster: We understand that you have a particular target at the Cannonball - 400 km/h?
Micke Kågered: That is correct. We are only a couple of kilometres away now and the car is still not running at its best. It is likely that the first 400 km run by a top methanol funny car will happen at Santa Pod, since the track is so good. We naturally hope it will happen during the Cannonball event and that it will be my team who does it.
Eurodragster: The speeds are climbing and it's quite early in the season, is that new technology or did you and Leif Andreasson learn some new tricks in the USA?
Micke Kågered: I don't know about Andréasson, he may have learned some new tricks, but for my team it is just the work we have put in the last three years since we changed to running Newberry engines which is finally starting to pay off.
Eurodragster: How far ahead of Europe do you think the US racers are - is the gap very big?
Micke Kågered: Leif Andréasson showed that Europeans can keep up with the Americans when he competed in Las Vegas and Phoenix this spring. We are closer than ever to the Americans in performance now. My guess is that the best teams in Europe can run in the low 5.70´s under good conditions in Europe and if an American team came here they would probably not be able to run any faster.
Eurodragster: You have been European Champion more than once, you have run in the USA, and you are a full-time drag racer. Have you any drag racing dreams left?
Micke Kågered: What I would like to do is to win the U.S. Nationals event in the NHRA series. That has been a dream for along time. I also hope that in the future there will be a world championship where the best teams from all continents meet and fight for a world champion title!
Eurodragster: Who is going to win the Cannonball?
Micke Kågered: Naturally, I have to answer myself on that question. It is a tough task, but since the nitro funny cars seem to have a problem with running consistent, we will give them the best match we possibly can!
Eurodragster: Thank you very much for your time, Micke, and good luck at the Cannonball!
Visit Micke Kågered's web site
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