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NKI ON A HIGH FOR DAUGAVPILS

Niels-Kristian Iversen admits “my confidence is high” going into tonight’s Rietumu Bank Latvian SGP as he bids to cement his top eight place

17 / 08 / 2013, 13:00

Danish champion Niels-Kristian Iversen admits “my confidence is high” going into tonight’s Rietumu Bank Latvian SGP as he bids to cement his spot in the top eight.

Iversen collected his first FIM Speedway Grand Prix win at the last round in Terenzano on August 3 and one of world speedway’s most consistent riders would love to build on his Italian masterclass.

NKI is currently sixth in the World Championship on 77 points – leaving him eight short of Jaroslaw Hampel in third. Tomasz Gollob in ninth spot is only nine points in arrears and Iversen knows the success of his SGP season still hangs in the balance.

The top three is not that far away, but there are still four meetings left and a long way to go. If things go wrong, I can quickly end up out of the top eight.

Niels-Kristian Iversen

But he said: “I’m quite optimistic going into this meeting. My confidence is high and I just want to get going.

“It’s all pretty open at the moment. I’m not far from going out of the top eight either – I’m kind of in between. I have to keep going, keep focused and try my best. My aim is still the top eight and anything more than that is a bonus for me.

“The top three is not that far away, but there are still four meetings left and a long way to go. If things go wrong, I can quickly end up out of the top eight.”

Iversen knows his Terenzano gold medal counts for nothing in Daugavpils, but he hopes to make the most of the confidence that comes with winning on a track he hadn’t raced for a long time.

He said: “What I did last time doesn’t really help anything tonight and it’s back to normal. I’ve got to focus and take one race at a time.

“I’ve been to Daugavpils a couple of times, but I haven’t been there since 2009 – I did the Grand Prix that year and I had eight points. I don’t have much experience there and we’ll see what I can pull out of it.

“I hadn’t been to Terenzano since 2007, so I guess it’s the same thing. I worked hard in practice. We tried a few things to see what felt good and what felt wrong. Hopefully we’ve found something that will work for me.”

Iversen has the chance to put his SGP spot for 2014 beyond any doubt, when he lines up in the GP Challenge at Poole against the likes of Matej Zagar, Krzysztof Kasprzak, Maciej Janowski, Kenneth Bjerre, Troy Batchelor and Tomas H Jonasson next Saturday.

The top three earn guaranteed places in next year’s competition. But NKI still hopes to secure his spot via the top eight.

“Of course it would be better if I could finish in the top eight,” he said. “That’s what I was hoping to do. The Challenge is another chance to make it to next year’s Grand Prix and I think it will be really tough.

“There are a lot of good riders there and it’s at Poole. They have a few home riders in the meeting. It’s not going to be easy there. Everything has to click on that day for me to be able to go through.

“But I’m only looking at what’s in front of me now. That’s Daugavpils and that’s what I must keep my focus on. I want to win every race I start and that’s my approach to it.”

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