Astana Expo FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship Final 1 – Togliatti, Russia
As anticipated, the Russians took the podium places on the first day in Togliatti. Despite a temperature of -170, an enthusiastic crowd of 4500 saw 2015 World Champion Dmitry Koltakov collect an 18-point score by beating current champion Dmitry Khomitsevich in the Final. It was the third time that these two had met during the meeting with honours even until then but both riders head the standings with another former champion Daniil Ivanov in third place. Ivanov had led the scores after the qualifying races dropping his only point to Koltakov in their opening race but was pinned back to third spot in the Final ahead of another Russian Igor Kononov.
Best of the rest was Austrian Franz Zorn with a well earned 12 points but he was unable to match the speed of the top Russian foursome and failed to progress beyond the semi-final stage. Gunter Bauer was the only other westerner to challenge the home riders but his meeting also came to a stop when he finished last in his semi final.
Debutant Jimmy Olsen was the best of the Swedish contingent and professed himself satisfied with his performance, which gathered him 7 points, but just outside a semi final spot. Fellow Swede Niclas Svensson scored only 2 but withdrew from his last ride after a bruising clash with Khomitsevich in Heat 16 from which both riders were fortunate to walk away with only a shaking.
1. Dmitri Kolkatov (Russia) 18
2, Dmitri Khomitsevich (Russia) 18
3, Daniil Ivanov (Russia) 17
4. Igor Kononov (Russia) 15
5. Franz Zorn (Austria) 12
6. Dinar Valeev (Russia) 12
7. Nikita Toloknov (Russia) 9
8. Gunter Bauer (Germany) 7
9. Jimmy Olson (Sweden) 7
Although colder temperatures and some snow is forecast for the second day the racing temperature is sure to be high when the meeting starts at 11.00 CET.