Russia’s Igor Kononov took the honours in the second Final at Togliatti witnessed over the two days by some 8,000 spectators and he sensationally climbed to the top of the leader board in this year’s competition.
Kononov had been the winner of the first day’s racing ahead of defending champion Daniil Ivanov. Riding on his home track, Kononov thrilled his local fans and, dropping his only point to Ivanov, moved up into second place overall as a result.
On the second day the track was again in good condition and bathed in bright sunshine with the temperature at around -12c. Kononov started in the best possible way by beating both his main rivals, Koltakov and Ivanov in his first two races then moving unbeaten through his remaining qualifying heats.
Koltakov had an eventful afternoon. He survived a bruising Heat 18 when he was pushed into the safety bales during a tough battle with Ivanov who lost control on the second bend and earned a disqualification from the Referee. In the restart he was again bundled into the bales at the start but made no mistake at the third attempt and secured a valuable 3 point win passing Franky Zorn on the second lap.
Despite dropping points during the qualifying heats Ivanov qualified for the semi-final stage but was eliminated when he lost a sterling battle with Dmitry Khomitsevich. Austrian Zorn enjoyed another fruitful meeting but also dropped out after the first semi-final as did Swedish veteran Stefan Svensson.
Mats Jarf withdrew from the meeting having been informed of the death of his grandfather.
So it was Kononov to face Dimitry Koltakov and the two Khomitsevich brothers in the final and he made no mistake by speeding from the start and completing a deserved 21 point maximum. However Koltakov was disqualified by referee Lyatosinskii after he was deemed to have been the cause of Vitaly Khomitsevich falling on the last bend and the two points lost means that Kononov is now joint leader with Koltakov in the Intermediate Classification setting the scene for an exciting continuation of their battle when Final 3 takes place next weekend in Almaty.