Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, World Championship race on a flat track, June 3, 2023, Prague. Martin Vaculík from Slovakia (centre), Leon Madsen from Denmark (left) and Jack Holder from Australia in the final run.
Prague – The Czech Republic Speedway Grand Prix in Prague was won by Slovakian driver Martin Vaculík, just like a year ago. He won the final race ahead of Denmark's Leon Madsen, Australia's Jack Holder and defending world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik of Poland. The Czech competitor Václav Milík did not succeed in front of a packed audience, he scored only one point.
“The dream has come true. What more can I say? I'm really very happy. Prague is a really special place for me. I love the city and I have a lot of friends here. And every time I go here, it's something special for me. It was amazing, the support we had from the spectators, especially the Slovak and Czech ones, I really appreciate it,” Vaculík said at the press conference after the race.
The 33-year-old Vaculík only saved his promotion to the top eight during the evening on the oval of the Markéta Stadium in Břevnov in his last, fifth appearance of the regular schedule. He won the race and secured a place in the semi-finals. In it, he made his way from third place to first with a great maneuver. This put the clear winner of the regular part of the Briton Dan Bewley out of the game, who lost only two points in five races. In the final, Vaculík had the best start and kept Madsen behind him.
“I knew that it was necessary to win in the fifth heat and reach three points, but I managed it. In the semi-final, I managed a maneuver that will certainly warm the heart of the competitor himself when something like this is successful,” he praised Vaculík, who has moved up to the fourth place in the overall standings, from which he loses a point to the third Holder, six to the second Swede Fredrik Lindgren and nine to the series leader Zmarzlik.
Madsen did not make an impression in the opening two races, but today you made your appetite. “I had engine problems at the end of the season and we tried to find out what the problem was. But now it looks like we have solved the problem. I hope I'm right. I'm very happy with how it turned out today, it's a great result and it will also be a boost for my self-confidence,” said the Danish track coach.
Just like last time in Warsaw, Holder took a position on the podium. He was second in the Polish metropolis before mid-May. “Last time I got to the final, today I managed to do it again, which is great. I'm really excited about it,” Holder did not hide his satisfaction.
Milík, riding on the wild card, erased the zero on his account only in the final race and remained in the field of losers as the last sixteen. “I'm terribly sorry. I was really looking forward to the race and I did everything to be ready, but now we have problems with the engines. And today was already the fifth race we've had to deal with. In short, I wasn't doing well until the the fifth run was a sign of some improvement,” Milík regretted.
Similarly to him, two giants also experienced a bad evening – albeit with a bigger point gain. Three-time world champion and winner of the Grand Prix in Prague from 2013 to 2015, Briton Tai Woffinden clearly dominated the first run, but added only one point in the next four. Australia's Jason Doyle, the 2017 world champion who won at Marquette in 2016 and 2017, crashed twice today. In the end, he was ninth, when Briton Robert Lambert advanced to the semi-finals at his expense only thanks to a greater number of winning runs.
Jan Kvěch and Eduard Krčmář, who were prepared as substitutes, did not make it to the track.
Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, World Championship race on a flat track in Prague:
Finals: 1. Vaculík (SR), 2. Madsen (Dan.), 3. J Holder (Aust.), 4. Zmarzlik (Poland), …16. Milík (Czech Republic).
World Championship ranking (after 3 out of 10 races): 1. Zmarzlik 50 points, 2. Lindgren (Sweden) 47, 3. J. Holder 42, …18. Milik 1.