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KOLODZIEJ CLEANS UP IN CROATIA TO REACH GP CHALLENGE

In-form Polish racer Janusz Kolodziej took a giant stride towards an FIM Speedway Grand Prix return after winning the qualifier in Gorican.

19 / 06 / 2021, 23:23

In-form Polish racer Janusz Kolodziej took a giant stride towards an FIM Speedway Grand Prix return after winning the qualifying round in Gorican with a 15-point maximum on Saturday.

The 2019 Czech SGP winner has been in red-hot form in Poland lately, and he took his scoring power to Croatia, delivering a perfect performance to book his spot at the GP Challenge in Zarnovica, Slovakia on August 21 – where the top three riders earn places in SGP 2022.

Former European champion Andzejs Lebedevs joined him in making it through on 13, while reigning European champion Robert Lambert put himself five good rides away from defending his newly-earned SGP status.

The Brit won last year’s Speedway European Championship series to qualify for SGP 2021, and he won a run-off with Czech SGP wild card Jan Kvech and last year’s GP Challenge runner-up Oliver Berntzon to book the final place in Slovakia. The trio tied on 11 points.

Czech racer Vaclav Milik missed out on 10, while SGP first reserve Aleksandr Loktaev fell short on nine. Jack Holder was another big casualty on seven, while last year’s GP Challenge winner Matej Zagar pulled out of the Gorican event due to injury.

Former world champion Chris Holder took a step closer to regaining his SGP spot after finishing second at the Glasgow qualifier on 13 points.

The meeting was won by Polish surprise package Tobiasz Musielak, as the former Swindon rider romped to a 15-point maximum to emphatically stamp his GP Challenge ticket.

Danish racer Nicolai Klindt qualified in third place with 12, with Britain’s Dan Bewley and Denmark’s Rasmus Jensen going head-to-head in a jaw-dropping run-off for the fourth and final qualification berth after they tied on 11.

Bewley made the start and showed nerves of steel with Jensen chasing him furiously for four laps. But the Wroclaw star just saw off his rival on the finish line to earn a shot at SGP stardom.

World Under-21 champion Jaimon Lidsey narrowly missed the cut on 10, while American racer Luke Becker and track reserve Tom Brennan scored nine. The Brit piled up an impressive tally from just four rides and his efforts included an ice-cool win over Holder in heat 14.

Former world No.2 Patryk Dudek stepped up his quest for an immediate SGP return after winning the qualifier at Italian track Terenzano on 14 points.

Danish rider Mikkel Michelsen, who also exited the SGP series at the end of 2020, is on course for a comeback after finishing second on 12.

SGP star Max Fricke takes his place in the GP Challenge field after qualifying on 11 along with Adam Ellis, with the GB rider beating the Aussie champion in a run-off for third on the night.

Polish racer Piotr Pawlicki cruelly missed out after crashing out of the meeting in his third ride, having won his opening two outings to put himself firmly in the qualification hunt.

Former Aussie champion Rohan Tungate edged closer to his SGP dream after winning the Nagyhalasz round in Hungary.

He topped the podium by beating German ace Martin Smolinski in a run-off after the duo finished level on 13 points.

Jevgenijs Kostigovs of Latvia was a shock qualifier in third on 12, while Torun racer Pawel Przedpelski earned the final spot on 11, defeating Sergey Logachev in a run-off. Grigorii Laguta made a shock exit on nine points.

The GP Challenge field is set to be completed by one wild card from the host nation, with Zarnovica’s own SGP star Martin Vaculik tipped to receive it.

GP CHALLENGE LINE-UP: Janusz Kolodziej (Poland), Andzejs Lebedevs (Latvia), Robert Lambert (Great Britain), Tobiasz Musielak (Poland), Chris Holder (Australia), Nicolai Klindt (Denmark), Dan Bewley (Great Britain), Mikkel Michelsen (Denmark), Patryk Dudek (Poland), Adam Ellis (Great Britain), Max Fricke (Australia), Rohan Tungate (Australia), Martin Smolinski (Germany), Jevgenijs Kostigovs (Latvia), Pawel Przedpelski (Poland), plus one Slovakian wild card to be confirmed.

GORICAN SCORES: 1 Janusz Kolodziej 15, 2 Andzejs Lebedevs 13, 3 Robert Lambert 11+3, 4 Jan Kvech 11+2, 5 Oliver Berntzon 11+1, 6 Vaclav Milik 10, 7 Aleksandr Loktaev 9, 8 Roman Lakhbaum 8, 9 Jack Holder 7, 10 Daniil Kolodinski 6, 11 Nicolas Vicentin 5, 12 Matic Ivacic 4, 13 Anze Grmek 4, 14 Jakub Valkovic 2, 15 Nick Skorja 2, 16 Miran Praznik 1, 17 Andrei Popa 0.

GLASGOW SCORES: 1 Tobiasz Musielak 15, 2 Chris Holder 13, 3 Nicolai Klindt 12, 4 Dan Bewley 11+3, 5 Rasmus Jensen 11+2, 6 Jaimon Lidsey 10, 7 Tom Brennan 9, 8 Luke Becker 9, 9 Erik Riss 7, 10 Charles Wright 7, 11 Lewis Kerr 6, 12 Broc Nicol 3, 13 Lasse Fredriksen 3, 14 Max Ruml 3, 15 Drew Kemp 1, 16 Steven Goret 0, 17 Bradley Wilson-Dean 0, 18 Tero Aarnio 0.

TERENZANO SCORES: 1 Patryk Dudek 14, 2 Mikkel Michelsen 12, 3 Adam Ellis 11+3, 4 Max Fricke 11+2, 5 Nicolas Covatti 10, 6 Anders Thomsen 9, 7 Josef Franc 7, 8 Daniel Gappmaier 7, 9 Kai Huckenbeck 7, 10 Jacob Thorssell 7, 11 Piotr Pawlicki 6, 12 Timo Lahti 5, 13 Paco Castagna 5, 14 Mathieu Tressarieu 3, 15 Valentin Grobauer 2, 16 Jordan Dubernard 1, 17 Daniele Tessari 0, 18 Michele Menani 0.

NAGYHALASZ SCORES: 1 Rohan Tungate 13+3, 2 Martin Smolinski 13+2, 3 Jevgenijs Kostigovs 12, 4 Pawel Przedpelski 11+3, 5 Sergey Logachev 11+2, 6 Grigorii Laguta 9, 7 Kevin Wolbert 8, 8 Patrick Hansen 7, 9 Olegs Mihailovs 7, 10 Dimitri Berge 7, 11 Kim Nilsson 7, 12 Victor Palovaara 4, 13 Marko Levishyn 4, 14 Eduard Krcmar 3, 15 Milen Manev 2, 16 Dennis Fazekas 1, 17 Roland Kovacs 1, 18 Mark Barany 0.

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