World Championship leader Krzysztof Kasprzak has officially withdrawn from the Mitas Finnish FIM Speedway Grand Prix.
The Pole is currently 11 points clear at the top of the standings, but pulled out of the event halfway through Friday’s practice session as he struggled with the torn cruciate ligament he suffered at Landshut last Saturday.
Kasprzak is replaced in the meeting by first track reserve Kauko Nieminen, who takes the 29-year-old’s five rides. This will be the Finnish international’s SGP debut.
The Leszno-born star’s woeful misfortune throws the title race wide open as Denmark’s Nicki Pedersen on 24 points will fancy his chances of closing the gap at the top, along with Polish icon Jaroslaw Hampel, American legend Greg Hancock, Aussie champ Chris Holder and German ace Martin Smolinski, who are all on 22. Aussie racer Darcy Ward is on 21 and races with a torn cruciate ligament of his own.