Russian racer Emil Sayfutdinov celebrated his first FIM Speedway Grand Prix win for six years in Hallstavik on Saturday, and immediately said “I have now forgotten about today.”
The Salavat-born star heads to the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Finals at Russian race track Togliatti on July 20 and 21 as World Championship leader after winning the Norrbil Swedish SGP final ahead of Martin Vaculik, Maciej Janowski and first-time finalist Max Fricke.
Sayfutdinov had not celebrated an SGP success since topping the podium at the 2013 British SGP in Cardiff in a year which saw him mount a title charge, before his hopes were dashed by injury.
After a three-year absence from the series, Sayfutdinov has been battling to get back on top of the SGP rostrum since 2017.
But despite achieving that aim in Hallstavik, he’s not going to celebrate this success for long with six riders separated by five points at the top of the standings.
Sayfutdinov, who is deadlocked on 47 points with Patryk Dudek and Leon Madsen at the top, said: “It feels amazing. I have been working for that for a long time – six years. When I came back to the SGP series in 2017, it was hard for me. I had my goal and a plan, but it didn’t work.
“Today everything worked very well and my team is also working very well, so I say thank you to them.
“I’ll just keep going and looking forward. I scored some good points and now I am leader with Dudek and Madsen. I am really happy about that.
“But to be honest, I have now forgotten about today. I am just concentrating and I know we have a lot more rounds and heats to come. We need to keep scoring the points and it will be good.”
Slovak star Vaculik is firmly in the title hunt as he holds fifth place on 44 points – level with Bartosz Zmarzlik in fourth. While he was unable to take victory in Hallstavik, he was glad to pile up the points.
He said: “I am happy with the performance. I am racing well and everything is working awesome for me. I’m very pleased with how many points I scored. That’s the main goal in the Grand Prix – to score the most points possible.
“I did a good job. Congrats to Emil – he was awesome today. He was very fast. I am looking forward to the other GPs.”
Third-placed Maciej Janowski – last year’s Hallstavik winner – was delighted to get back on to the SGP podium after a tough start to the season, hampered by the shoulder ligament injury which kept him out of the opening round in Warsaw.
Magic, now 13th in the standings on 24 points, said: “That was a very tough night and I am out of energy, but finally we got some good points. I am very happy.
“It’s difficult when you have lost so many points because I missed Warsaw. I wasn’t 100 percent ready for Slovenia. But finally I got some good points here and slowly we are climbing.”
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Emil Sayfutdinov 47, 2 Patryk Dudek 47, 3 Leon Madsen 47, 4 Bartosz Zmarzlik 44, 5 Martin Vaculik 44, 6 Fredrik Lindgren 42, 7 Niels-Kristian Iversen 32, 8 Jason Doyle 30, 9 Janusz Kolodziej 29, 10 Artem Laguta 27, 11 Matej Zagar 27, 12 Max Fricke 27, 13 Maciej Janowski 24, 14 Robert Lambert 24, 15 Antonio Lindback 23, 16 Tai Woffinden 15, 17 Bartosz Smektala 10, 18 Oliver Berntzon 7, 19 Vaclav Milik 4, 20 Matic Ivacic 2.
NORRBIL SWEDISH SGP SCORES: 1 Emil Sayfutdinov 17, 2 Martin Vaculik 16, 3 Maciej Janowski 13, 4 Max Fricke 11, 5 Matej Zagar 10, 6 Fredrik Lindgren 10, 7 Bartosz Zmarzlik 8, 8 Niels-Kristian Iversen 8, 9 Leon Madsen 7, 10 Oliver Berntzon 7, 11 Jason Doyle 7, 12 Patryk Dudek 7, 13 Antonio Lindback 6, 14 Artem Laguta 5, 15 Janusz Kolodziej 3, 16 Robert Lambert 3, 17 Pontus Aspgren DNR, 18 Kim Nilsson DNR.