Monday, March 19, 2018

One hand on the title!

Podium Day 2 - 1. Dmitry Kolatakov (RUS) 2. Dmitri Khomitsevich (RUS); 3. Dinar Valeev (RUS) -  Photo © Good Shoot

Dmitry Koltakov has one hand on the gold medal after another masterful performance on Day 2 in Inzell. The LUKOIL FIM Ice Speedway World Championship round again attracted a sell-out crowd who were provided with some spectacular track action and it was the World Champion who showed a clean set of spikes to all the opposition as he cruised to his fifth maximum of the series.

Whilst it is mathematically possible for Koltakov to be caught, it would require a major turn of events for this to happen as, with nearest rival Daniil Ivanov failing to reach the final today, Koltakov has an overall lead of 33 points going into the last round.

The final itself was a tense affair and had to be restarted after Martin Haarahiltunen had fallen. He appeared to hit a rut whist attempting to overtake Dinar Valeev for third place and although uninjured, was disqualified. In the restart Koltakov from the favoured inside gate quickly took the lead and took a clear victory ahead of Dmitri Khomitsevich with Valeev trailing in third place.

Johann Weber, heartened by his romantic proposal of the previous night, had by far his most successful round of the season and was the only German to make the cut after the qualifying races. The four remaining Germans failed to give the to home fans something to cheer about as they only scored two points between them. Gunther Bauer crashed heavily in his first race and withdrew from the meeting and neither Wild Card Pletschacher nor reserves Niedermaier and Mayerbuchler were able to make any impression.

Franz Zorn and Harald Simon both reached the semi-finals along with Weber and Ivanov whose surprise elimination saw his remaining title hopes effectively disappear. Haarahiltunen apart, the Swedes were not at their best and with Ledström still feeling the effects of his Berlin crash a further fall in Heat 6 saw him withdraw from his last race to complete a forgettable weekend.