Dmitry Koltakov’s perfect run in the LUKOIL FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship was challenged on the second day in Togliatti as rival Dmitry Khomitsevich snatched the Final on the last lap after an entertaining afternoon of Ice Speedway on a well prepared track and in front of another good crowd.
Koltakov had already been beaten by Daniil Ivanov when they met in Heat 34 but still completed the meeting with an enviable record of having dropped only 4 points in 28 races so far in the series. He was leading the final until he hit a rut but he still tops the table by a 16-point margin over second placed Ivanov. Daniil Valeev was the other finalist but fell on the first attempt to run the race and did not take part in the rerun.
Ove Ledström was the best of the Swedes and was the only Scandinavian to reach the semi-finals where he fell and was disqualified. Martin Haarahiltunen was again unable to reproduce the results of Astana although fuel problems in his last race probably cost him his semi-final spot for the first time this year.
Jan Klatovsky is riding himself back to form and his hard-earned 8 points were rewarded with a place in the first semi-final where he was unable to get ahead of his three Russian rivals.
Gunther Bauer, still suffering the effects of his foot injury and the dehydration which had restricted his scoring on Day 1, was able to collect only 5 points but still his best return of the season to date. Johan Weber had also struggled with the set up on his machine and a knee injury but had no better fortune on Day 2 when he was disqualified twice and was then the victim of a big crash with Franz Zorn on the back straight. He suffered extensive bruising and although he was able to walk back to the pits he was forced to withdraw from his last ride.
Dutchman Jasper Iwema in his debut season is still finding his feet at this level but has shown a more aggressive style in Togliatti despite being hampered by mechanical issues. A puncture on the first day was followed by fuel problems and he finished the second day by borrowing a bike from Niclas Svensson. His efforts deserved a better return than his solitary point.