Dmitry Koltakov consolidated his position at the top of the LUKOIL FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship’s leader board after an unbeaten seven ride maximum on the second day in Astana. Only fellow Russian Sergey Karachintsev was able to match his pace and was beaten only by Koltakov during the meeting. Daniil Ivanov took third place in the Final that played host to around 4500 spectators.
Although Sweden’s Martin Haarahiltunen reached the final, he was unable to match the drama of the first day and finished in fourth place. He had dropped points his Russian competitors in the qualifying heats and a disqualification in Heat 13 left him further adrift from the leaders. Nevertheless, he can feel satisfied with a memorable performance in his debut meeting at this level.
Fellow Swedes Ove Ledström and Jimmy Olsen improved on their first day results but were unable to progress further than the semi-final stage. Harald Simon, apparently recovered from stomach pains which had affected his riding on the first day, and was also in better form but was unfortunate to fall in the first semi-final after a clash with Haarahiltunen and was taken to hospital for examination.
Final 2 was somewhat of an unlucky event for the German representatives, with Gunther Bauer collecting just three points and Johann Weber crashing in his second race when he lost control of his bike, resulting in an ambulance journey and an early departure from the meeting.
Austria’s Franz Zorn usually can be relied upon to provide some good racing but looked uncharacteristically out of character on this track and could add only four points to his first day total. The home fans will have been pleased with the performance of Wild Card Andrey Shishegov and veteran reserve Vladimir Cheblakov both of whom provided some exciting racing.
Scores from Final 2 : 1.Dmitry Koltakov (Russia) 21; 2. Sergey Karachintsev (Russia) 19; 3. Daniil Ivanov (Russia) 16 ; 4. Martin Haarahiltunen (Sweden) 12; 5. Dmitry Khomitsevich (Russia) 11; 6. Ove Ledström (Sweden) 10; 7. Harald Simon (Austria) 10; 8. Jimmy Olsen (Sweden) 7; 9. Andrey Shishegov (Russia) 6; Wild card ; 10. Vladimir Cheblakov (Kazakhstan) 5; 11. Charly Ebner (Austria); 5. 12. Franz Zorn (Austria) 4; 13. Niclas Svensson (Sweden) 4; 14. Johann Weber (Germany) 3; 15. Günther Bauer (Germany) 3; 16. Stefan Svensson (Sweden) 1; 17. Pavel Nekrasov (Kazakhstan) 0; 18. Jasper Iwema (The Netherlands) 0.
Riders were unanimous in their praise for the track and organisation in Astana which provided some excellent racing and has proved to be a welcome addition to the Ice Speedway calendar. The individual championship now moves on to Togliatti in two week’s time after the Team Final in Shadrinsk next weekend.