Grandprix Challenge 2019
Saturday's Grand Prix Qualifying Final in Croatia is one of the most important speedway races of the year. It is about three places that will give a direct departure to the 2020 World Cup. Iversen, Mikkel Michelsen, Kenneth Bjerre and Anders Thomsen have fought their way to the nerve-wracking gloom.
By Ib Søby
It was quite brilliant when the Danish national coach team back in March chose to spend a training weekend with the gross national teams in Gorican. It was already known before the season started that there was great opportunity for Danish participation in one of this year's most important speedway geysers.
- At the very moment that FIM had appointed Gorican as host of this year's Grand Prix Challenge, we contacted the club and booked training. There are many who would like to train there when it is still cold in Northern Europe, says coach Hans Nielsen.
- It is a wide track with 16 meters in turns, while the length itself is only 305 meters, so it can be somewhat unpredictable. On Saturday, the responsible BSI / IMG Race Director, Phil Morris, is in charge. I think the track will thus be tough, as we saw for example at the spectacular GP races in Wroclaw and Målilla. The start is always important, but there will also be some opportunities for alternative lines and overtaking, the coach says.
- I think we have a good chance of bringing one or maybe two Danes to next year's grandprix series. At the same time, we must not forget that Niels Kr. Iversen is definitely still in the race for the top eight in the current series, says Hans Nielsen without underestimating other drivers in the strong field.
The Danish four-leaf clover comes to hard work on Saturday night. In the field you will see several tough and experienced drivers such as Slovenian Matej Zagar and Slovakian Martin Vaculik. A British trio in the form of Robert Lambert, Craig Cook and Chris Harris can also enter the podiums. But so can German Martin Smolinski, Australian Max Fricke and French hope David Bellego, who all have the class to go far.
Saturday's homecoming hero Jurica Pavlic also gets a great chance to finally race in the grandprix series as the first Croat ever. It is his father, the road contractor Zvonko Pavlic, who built the course, while his sister Darija Pavlic is the manager of the club. The course itself lies in the town of Donji Kralevec, about 110 kilometers east of the capital Zagreb.
The Grandprix field 2020 consists of:
eight best from this year.
Three from the Grandprix Challenge in Croatia.
four permanent wildcards.
One local wildcard for each grand prix.
The four permanent wildcards are often used for drivers who have been injured during the season, such as triple British world champion Tai Woffinden. The American veteran, Greg Hancock, may also be in play, following his absence due to his wife's serious cancer illness.
If Niels Kr. Iversen, Matej Zagar or Martin Vaculik, who all compete in this year's World Cup series, both finish in the top three on Saturday and in the top eight in the World Cup series, will be awarded number four, five and six, from Saturday's race in Croatia. the coveted seats.
The race starts at. 19:00 Saturday and - as far as is known - will not be broadcast on TV. However, an effective live update can be followed at Polish Sportowy Fakty:
Judge is British Christina Turnbull.
The field in Croatia:
Niels Kr. Iversen, Denmark
Jurica Pavlic, Croatia
Martin Smolinski, Germany
Anders Thomsen, Denmark
David Bellego, France
Max Fricke, Australia
Pontus Aspgren, Sweden
Kenneth Bjerre, Denmark
Robert Lambert, England
Martin Vaculik, Slovakia
Matej Zagar, Slovenia
Mikkel Michelsen, Denmark
Craig Cook, England
Aleksandr Loktayev, Ukraine
Chris Harris, England
Matic Ivacic, Slovenia
Norbert Magosi, Hungary.