Slovenian Speedway GP: Jarek Hampel wins the but Tai Woffinden closes on title
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey. Last Updated: 16/09/13 7:34am
Tai Woffinden: On course for the world title
Britain's Tai Woffinden is on the brink of becoming speedway world champion after extending his lead to 20 points with just two Grands Prix left.
With his nearest rival Emil Sayfutdinov sidelined through injury, Woffinden had the chance in Slovenia to put a huge gap between himself and the Russian in the standings, and he grabbed it with both hands.
Woffinden top-scored through the qualifiers in Slovenia before finishing second to Jarek Hampel in his semi-final - but he is now on the brink of becoming Britain's first world champion since Mark Loram in 2000.
In the final Hampel produced another superb start off gate one to claim the top spot on the night, his third GP victory of the season, and one which takes him to within just two points of Sayfutdinov.
"It was a great night, not in the middle of the meeting as I had trouble in races two and three, but everything started working much better," said a delighted Hampel.
But despite Hampel winning, it is very much all still about Woffinden - who now has a 20-point lead ahead of Sayfutdinov and if the Russian does not ride in the next GP in Stockholm, then the Brit could claim the title in the Friends Arena with a round to spare.
Third place on the night in Krsko saw a welcome return to form for Polish veteran Tomasz Gollob - who pushed himself firmly into the top-eight ahead of Aussie youngster Darcy Ward.
Ward did make the semi-finals himself, but he went out to Hampel and Woffinden, finishing third ahead of American Greg Hancock.
Home favourite Matej Zagar came good late in the meeting to claim a semi-final spot - but he finished last behind Gollob and Niels-Kristian Iversen, who got the better of Nicki Pedersen to claim a final spot - where he finished in fourth.