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Artem Laguta takes one-point lead in the FIM Speedway Grand Prix world title race with victory in the Danish SGP sponsored by Ecco at Vojens

11 / 09 / 2021, 22:23

Artem Laguta admits he’s in dreamland after triumphing in Vojens on Saturday to overhaul Bartosz Zmarzlik for top spot in the FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship race.

Laguta stormed to his fourth win of SGP 2021 at the Danish SGP sponsored by Ecco, taking victory in the final ahead of Zmarzlik, Emil Sayfutdinov and Tai Woffinden. The win hands the Wroclaw and Vastervik star a one-point lead in the standings going into the title-deciding eWinner Torun SGP of Poland double-header on October 1 and 2.

I know I haven’t come from nowhere. I have been working so hard on this. I have dreamed of being the best in the world and put a lot of effort into that.

Artem Laguta

It’s the first time this season Laguta has led the standings as he bids to make history and become the first rider representing the Motorcycling Federation of Russia to be crowned senior individual world champion.

He was elated to leave the legendary Vojens Speedway Center with an advantage going into the biggest weekend of his life in three weeks.

Speaking via manager Rafal Lewicki, he said: “It is a great feeling, but I also feel like I cannot believe it. It’s a dream come true. You sometimes wake up after a great dream and you cannot believe it. We will realise it was true tomorrow, and we are so happy about this.”

Laguta has a strong record in Torun, having won five heats and the semi-final in 2018, only to finish second to Tai Woffinden in the final. He also finished third in round eight there in 2020.

Zmarzlik is chasing his third straight world title, while Laguta has never been in championship contention. But the Bolshoy Kamen-born racer is determined to remember what has put him in this position as he bids to deliver gold.

He said: “I want to do the best I can in Torun. For sure the few days before are going to be tough. I will be facing this for the first time in my career. But I know I haven’t come from nowhere. I have been working so hard on this. I have dreamed of being the best in the world and put a lot of effort into that.

“I am working together with my team to get there, and all we can do is the best we can do. We will do our best and see how much we get back.

“Of course Bartek is not going to give up. He is a world champion. But I am very hungry for it.”

Zmarzlik was content with second spot on the Vojens track where he topped the podium in 2019 as he kept pace with his rival.

He said: “I fulfilled the minimum plan and I am happy because I didn’t feel so good on the bike today with the setups and technically.

“Everything wasn’t 100 percent, but I made it into second place for me and my team, and that’s a really good result at Vojens.”

Third-placed Sayfutdinov was delighted to be back on the podium for the first time since he finished second at round one in Prague.

His 16 championship points saw him leapfrog Fredrik Lindgren for third spot in the standings, with Sayfutdinov on 121 points and the Swede on 119 in the battle for the bronze medal.

Having finished fourth at the previous round in Togliatti, Sayfutdinov is pleased to be back on form for the business end of the season.

He said: “To be honest, third place is really, really nice. I am really happy. The last two or three months have been so hard. I want to say a special thanks to my team, who have been working really hard.

“Hopefully we are on track to be on the podium. I scored important points today and I am looking forward to Torun.

“I was hungry to win this Grand Prix because I felt awesome. I found a quick line where I could be fast.

“I have some new engines and I don’t know which way to change the setups sometimes. In that final heat, it is always hard for me, but I am happy. Third place in the final puts me back on the podium.”

The SGP series now takes a short break for the 2021 Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Semi-Finals in Daugavpils on Friday and Saturday (September 17 and 18).

Poland face off against Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovenia and the USA in Semi-Final 1 on Friday, September 17, with hosts Latvia taking on MFR, Australia, Germany, France, Italy and the Ukraine in Semi-Final 2 on Saturday, September 18.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Artem Laguta 158, 2 Bartosz Zmarzlik 157, 3 Emil Sayfutdinov 121, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 119, 5 Tai Woffinden 96, 6 Maciej Janowski 95, 7 Leon Madsen 82, 8 Max Fricke 77, 9 Jason Doyle 74, 10 Anders Thomsen 63, 11 Robert Lambert 60, 12 Martin Vaculik 53, 13 Dominik Kubera 44, 14 Matej Zagar 41, 15 Oliver Berntzon 20, 16 Krzysztof Kasprzak 19, 17 Mikkel Michelsen 9, 18 Gleb Chugunov 8, 19 Jan Kvech 7, 20 Aleksandr Loktaev 6, 21 Vadim Tarasenko 4, 22 Pontus Aspgren 1.

DANISH SGP SPONSORED BY ECCO SCORES: 1 Artem Laguta 20, 2 Bartosz Zmarzlik 18, 3 Emil Sayfutdinov 16, 4 Tai Woffinden 14, 5 Robert Lambert 12, 6 Fredrik Lindgren 11, 7 Leon Madsen 10, 8 Mikkel Michelsen 9, 9 Martin Vaculik 8, 10 Max Fricke 7, 11 Jason Doyle 6, 12 Matej Zagar 5, 13 Maciej Janowski 4, 14 Anders Thomsen 3, 15 Oliver Berntzon 2, 16 Krzysztof Kasprzak 1, 17 Mads Hansen DNR, 18 Frederik Jakobsen DNR.

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Here's everything you need to know ahead of the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Final in Manchester on Saturday and Sunday.