The Russians one again demonstrated their superiority by cruising to another team title in Togliatti where they finished the competition with a total of 59 points, only one short of the maximum possible.
That one point was dropped when Austria’s Harald Simon beat current World Individual champion Nikolai Krasnikov into third place in Heat 23. Austria were runners up with the Czech Republic team in third place after a late revival of fortune.
Over 6000 spectators braved the snowy and windy conditions and were rewarded with some interesting races at a meeting organised with typical efficiency by the Togliatti club. The Russian team, clearly confident of a win, shared their rides amongst all three team members with reserve Dmitry Khomisevitch playing a full part in the victory with a total of 18 points over the two days.
The Austrians started where they had left off on Saturday with a scorching ride from Simon against the two Russians in Heat 23 in which less than 0.4 seconds separated the first three riders. Fortune swung in both directions for them as they gained a point when Aakko’s motor spluttered in Heat 30 but lost out when Franz Zorn retired with engine problems in Heat 38 when a 5 – 1 advantage against the Czech Republic team seemed likely. The Czechs capitalised on their good fortune and three points gained in the final race secured their third place on the rostrum.
Finland’s Antti Aakko was again one of the individual stars with 13 points today, limited by an engine failure in Heat 30 but he still finished as overall top scorer with a total of 28 points. However he had little support and the Finns could only manage a disappointing fourth place.
• Russia 59 ( Ivanov 23, Krasnikov 18, Khomisvich 18)
• Austria 44 (Simon 27, Zorn 16,Leitner 1)
• Czech Republic 37 (A.Klatovsky 19, J.Klatovsky 18)
• Finland 35 (Aakko 28, Jarf 7)
• Sweden 32 (Henderson 21, Svensson 11)
• Germany 29 (Bauer 12, Niedermaier 11, Pletschacher 6)
• The Netherlands 16 (Stellingwerf 14, Schukken 1, Reitsma 1)