Trio book GP places
Krzysztof Kasprzak, Matej Zagar and Niels-Kristian Iversen through at challenge
Last Updated: 30/09/12 5:34pm
Krzysztof Kasprzak: Won GP challenge
Krzysztof Kasprzak, Matej Zagar and Niels-Kristian Iversen came through the Grand Prix Challenge to book their places in the SGP series in 2013.
The experienced trio took the honours after a nerve jangling meeting in Croatia - with Kasprzak taking the event in Gorican on 11 points.
The the final two places were decided by run-offs after Zagar,Iversen, Ales Dryml, Leon Madsen and Troy Batchelor all finished on ten-points.
They were split into two run-offs with Zagar heading Madsen and Batchelor, before Iversen beat Dryml.
The Slovenian and the Dane advanced to the final, before Dryml won the third run-off ahead of Madsen and Batchelor with the Aussie dropping out of the running at this point.
Zagar then made a dream start in the fourth and final run-off to lead Iversen home, while Dryml in third claimed the SGP first reserve berth for 2013 with Madsen last. He becomes the second stand-in man.
Current Grand Prix riders Hans Andersen and Peter Ljung missed out on eight points apiece, which is what hugely fancied Slovak Martin Vaculik also finished on.
Home favourite Jurica Pavlic finished on a disappointing five points, whilst Danish starlet Michael Jepsen Jensen failed to score.
Kasprzak was delighted to be returning after previously been in the Grand Prix series in 2008.
"It won't be like 2008. It was always a big stress before the Grand Prix - I had a new engine at every GP and everything was new," he said.
"Only the fans and press make it something big. The GP is like a normal meeting for me."
29-year-old Zagar also returns after competing in 2006 and 2007
"It's a good feeling and it gives me energy during the winter. It's a kick in the bum. I have to step up again and that's what I wanted, otherwise I wouldn't have been doing the qualifiers," he said.
"I just want to score the most points possible and make my country proud. I'm a proud Slovenian and I hope many fans are going to support me everywhere.
"It means a lot to me and I do everything I can to make speedway big in Slovenia. I hope this is a step forward for our other guys as well.
"I've proved we're not just an ex-Balkan country that doesn't know how to ride speedway."
Iversen is third qualifier from the challenge and he too is back after partaking in 2006 and 2008.
"The statistics show I've been one of the best riders in the world this year in all the leagues," he said,
"It has been good, but we start again next year and I'm going to keep doing the same thing I'm doing now. I'm not going to make the Grand Prix anything bigger than what it is.
"As Krzysztof was saying, you have to take it like a normal meeting. You can't think you have to do something extra in the Grand Prix because it's the same races and the same rules.
"I think if I continue next year like I have this season, I think 2013 will be alright. I'm not going to set myself any goals either. I'll take every meeting as it comes."
GP CHALLENGE SCORES: 1 Krzysztof Kasprzak 11, 2 Matej Zagar 10+3+3, 3 Niels-Kristian Iversen 10+3+2, 4 Ales Dryml 10+2+3+1, 5 Leon Madsen 10+2+2+0, 6 Troy Batchelor 10+1+1, 7 Hans Andersen 8, 8 Martin Vaculik 8, 9 Peter Ljung 8, 10 Krzysztof Buczkowski 8, 11 Martin Smolinski 7, 12 Grzegorz Walasek 6, 13 Peter Kildemand 5, 14 Jurica Pavlic 5, 15 Adrian Miedzinski 4, 16 Michael Jepsen Jensen 0.