At minus 10c it may have been cold but 4000 spectators came to the Anatoly Stepanov Stadium to see their Russian heroes confirm their supremacy in the LUKOIL FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship, and they were not to be disappointed.
Dmitry Koltakov, current World Champion sped to an unbeaten maximum and stretched his lead at the top of the table to an amazing 13 points after only three rounds. He was followed in the Final by Dmitri Khomitsevich and Daniil Ivanov to provide a complete Russian presence on the prizegiving podium. Of the top Russians only Sergey Karachintsev missed out after a disqualification in his semi-final when he clipped a straw bale causing the race to be stopped. Wild Card Igor Kononov also failed to get through the semi-final stage.
Martin Haarahultinen was again in good form and had overtaken Karachintsev in Heat 21 before the Russian was disqualified. In the rerun he was unable to get the better of fellow Swede Niclas Svensson who became the second non-Russian to claim a final place so far this season. Jimmy Olsen had a disappointing afternoon scoring only 5 points.
Ove Ledström took a nasty fall when he ‘high sided’ in Heat 9 and after retiring in his next ride, withdrew from the meeting. Nikita Toloknov also crashed in the same race and was taken to hospital with a broken arm which will unfortunately require surgery.
Jan Klatovsky made a satisfactory return to racing after his injury-enforced absence and as he looks to regain full fitness over the upcoming weeks, he will also look to improve his performances. The two German representatives failed to ride at their full potential, with Hans Weber obtaining two disqualifications and Gunther Bauer only banking a single point. As for the Austrians, Franz Zorn is yet to demonstrate his best form and despite winning his first race, Harald Simon did not manage to claim top spot again.