Maciej Janowski launched his bid for a Monster Energy FIM World Speedway Championship medal on Saturday night when winning the AZTORIN German FIM Speedway Grand Prix in Teterow.
Janowski, who was without a Grand Prix win in 13 months prior to round seven of the 2019 World Championship, made a jet-propelled start from gate two in the grand final to defeat Polish compatriot Bartosz Zmarzlik, Slovenian favourite Matej Zagar and in-form Dane Niels-Kristian Iversen.
Despite missing the opening round of this year’s series through injury, Janowski is only 11 points short of third placed Emil Sayfutdinov – and stands every chance of picking up his first World Championship medal in Torun, Poland, on October 5.
The 28-year-old Wroclaw star said hard work in the pits from his top team of mechanics inspired his lightning-fast start in the grand final, which ultimately saw him step to the top of the podium.
He said: “This is amazing, it’s always an amazing feeling when you win a Grand Prix.
“The whole meeting was very tough, we worked very hard during the meeting and I knew the final would be very hard with Bartosz Zmarzlik, Matej Zagar and Niels-Kristian Iversen involved.
“I felt very good from the start in the final, I made a perfect start and that helped me to win.”
World Championship contender Bartosz Zmarzlik was again in blistering form, registering 16 points on the night to join Leon Madsen at the top of the standings on 85 points with three rounds remaining.
After dropping only three points throughout his five qualifying rides, the Gorzow star finished second to Janowski in semi-final one before repeating that effort in the grand final.
Like Janowski, Zmarzlik paid tribute to his mechanics following round seven, and vowed to maintain his high levels of performance at next weekend’s ECCO Danish FIM Speedway Grand Prix in Vojens.
“I didn’t realise I was top, I’m very happy with second place,” said Zmarzlik.
“The team has worked really hard all week on my engines. I had a new engine too which worked really well for me.
“I’ll continue working hard for the next round in Vojens.”
For Matej Zagar, a podium finish came as a welcome relief following a logistically challenging start to his weekend.
A delayed flight forced the GP Challenge winner to start his journey to Teterow on a different plane, before arriving on the stroke of the start of free practice.
He topped the qualifying time sheet, before registering 15 points from his seven rides – placing him five points short of the top eight frame.
He said: “It’s been a hectic week for me – I had issues with travelling and didn’t have too many meetings.
“I’ve achieved what I wanted to, though. I qualified for next year’s series via the GP Challenge, and got a podium tonight.
“I’m really glad and pleased with the result.”
Following tonight’s result, Dane Leon Madsen surrendered his position as clear leader at the top of the World Championship standings.
The Danish favourite finished behind Janowski and Zmarzlik in semi-final one, and dropped six points to his championship rival.
Elsewhere in the table, title hopefuls Emil Sayfutdinov and Fredrik Lindgren returned with a mixed bag of results from their qualifying rides - scoring 10 and nine points respectively.
But Martin Vaculik endured the most frustrating evening, registering just four points from five qualifying rides as the Slovak star dropped to fifth in the standings and is now 13 points short of the top pair.
The series now moves to Vojens, Denmark, for round eight on Saturday, September 7.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 85, 2 Leon Madsen 85, 3 Emil Sayfutdinov 78, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 72, 5 Martin Vaculik 72, 6 Patryk Dudek 69, 7 Maciej Janowski 67, 8 Artem Laguta 58, 9 Niels-Kristian Iversen 54, 10 Matej Zagar 52, 11 Janusz Kolodziej 50, 12 Jason Doyle 48, 13 Antonio Lindback 38, 14 Max Fricke 36, 15 Tai Woffinden 35, 16 Robert Lambert 28, 17 Bartosz Smektala 10, 18 Mikkel Michelsen 9, 19 Oliver Berntzon 7, 20 Vaclav Milik 4, 21 Maksym Drabik 4, 22 Matic Ivacic 2, 23 Jacob Thorsell 2, 24 Martin Smolinski 1.
AZTORIN GERMAN SGP SCORES: 1 Maciej Janowski 16, 2 Bartosz Zmarzlik 16, 3 Matej Zagar 15, 4 Niels-Kristian Iversen 13, 5 Emil Sayfutdinov 10, 6 Leon Madsen 10, 7 Fredrik Lindgren 9, 8 Patryk Dudek 8, 9 Antonio Lindback 8, 10 Artem Laguta 8, 11 Tai Woffinden 8, 12 Jason Doyle 6, 13 Robert Lambert 4, 14, Martin Vaculik 4, 15 Janusz Kolodziej 2, 16 Martin Smolinski 1, 17 Kai Huckenbeck 0, 18 Max Dilger DNS.