KOLODZIEJ’S WINNING MENTALITY
Polish star Janusz Kolodziej buoyed by first-ever FIM Speedway Grand Prix win at ANLAS Czech SGP in Prague.
15 / 06 / 2019, 22:56
Polish racer Janusz Kolodziej admits becoming an FIM Speedway Grand Prix winner has boosted his belief on the world stage after triumphing at the ANLAS Czech Republic SGP in Prague on Saturday.
Kolodziej raced to the first SGP win of his career on his first final appearance since 2010, beating Leon Madsen, Patryk Dudek and Jason Doyle in the decider.
Dudek holds top spot in the World Championship – level on 40 points with Madsen – as the pair maintained their record of reaching every final this year.
There were some nerves in the final heat, but my nerves were good. I dropped the clutch, went full gas and prayed to God.
But the night belonged to an elated Kolodziej – a man competing in his first SGP season since 2011.
The 35-year-old underlined the class that has taken him to three Polish Championships with an unforgettable performance in Prague to notch 15 points – putting him seventh in the standings on 26.
And having recorded his maiden SGP victory, Kolodziej says he has the belief to chase further success.
He said: “Now maybe after this win, I can believe more in myself and I will try to win more.
“But there is not too much pressure on me. The best situation for me is when I just race. I don’t like too much pressure. We will see what happens. But this is so, so amazing. I am older, but I can still win.”
Kolodziej may have won two FIM Speedway World Cups with his country and back-to-back PGE Ekstraliga titles with Leszno. But his Prague success is a special moment for the Tarnow-born man.
He said: “I will be thinking about this night. Now we’re driving to my place in Tarnow and I will be so happy on the road thinking about this meeting. I want to go to my team and give them a big hug. I feel amazing because this is my first time in first place in the GP.
“I am proud and I thanked God when I raced in the final because I had the best start. I finished first and now I can be happy with my work, my team and everybody.
“The starts were very important for me. I had good gates because I finished high in qualifying and took some of the best ones.
“I was focused at the starts. There were some nerves in the final heat, but my nerves were good. I dropped the clutch, went full gas and prayed to God.”
Kolodziej hailed the huge contingent of Polish fans who celebrated his success at a sold-out Marketa Stadium.
He said: “There were many people from Poland. Prague is a very nice city and many people from Poland like this place. There were so many Polish fans and I felt everything. I saw all the flags.”
Madsen was pleased to maintain his sublime start to SGP life as he made it three finals in as many rounds in what is his full-time debut season.
“It’s great,” he said. “Now I have a first, second and third place. I’ve been in the final and on the podium in my first three GPs. I am very happy.
“We are a third of the way into the season and I’m tied for first position. I am very pleased with that.”
Third-placed Dudek – the new World Championship leader by virtue of his superior FIM ranking over Madsen – admitted his ANLAS Czech SGP was no easy night.
He battled his way into the semi-finals on nine points, before making it into the final after Emil Sayfutdinov dropped a chain while holding second place.
Dudek took full advantage to reach the rostrum, but he said: “It was a very tough night with very tough weather. I was fighting for points in all the heats and now I feel very, very tired. I need to go to bed!”
Next up is the Norrbil Swedish SGP in Hallstavik on July 6.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Patryk Dudek 40, 2 Leon Madsen 40, 3 Bartosz Zmarzlik 36, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 32, 5 Emil Sayfutdinov 30, 6 Martin Vaculik 28, 7 Janusz Kolodziej 26, 8 Niels-Kristian Iversen 24, 9 Jason Doyle 23, 10 Artem Laguta 22, 11 Robert Lambert 21, 12 Matej Zagar 17, 13 Antonio Lindback 17, 14 Max Fricke 16, 15 Tai Woffinden 15, 16 Maciej Janowski 11, 17 Bartosz Smektala 10, 18 Vaclav Milik 4, 19 Matic Ivacic 2.
ANLAS CZECH SGP SCORES: 1 Janusz Kolodziej 15, 2 Leon Madsen 14, 3 Patryk Dudek 12, 4 Jason Doyle 12, 5 Max Fricke 13, 6 Fredrik Lindgren 12, 7 Emil Sayfutdinov 11, 8 Artem Laguta 9, 9 Bartosz Zmarzlik 8, 10 Maciej Janowski 7, 11 Robert Lambert 6, 12 Vaclav Milik 4, 13 Martin Vaculik 4, 14 Matej Zagar 4, 15 Antonio Lindback 4, 16 Niels-Kristian Iversen 3, 17 Zdenek Holub 0, 18 Ondrej Smetana DNR.