||Last Updated: Sep 21st, 2014 - 10:10:08
Former Brummies' star Nico Covatti came within a whisker of a spot in the 2015 Grand Prix series following a spectacular display in the GP Challenge in Lonigo.
Having been handed a wildcard for the event, Covatti almost caused a major upset with a determined display against a strong line-up.
After notching three points from his opening two rides, the Birmingham favourite rounded Matej Zagar in stunning style to race to a marvellous win in heat 11.
When he dusted himself down from an opening bend fall to repeat the trick in his very next ride, Covatti was left with a real chance of qualification entering his final ride.
Jason Doyle and Chris Harris quickly booked their place in the all-important top three - although when they were joined by Zagar, who is on course for a top eight finish in the 2014 World Championship, the battle for fourth place became crucial.
Entering heat 19, Covatti knew a race win would see him overhaul Maciej Janowski and all but assure qualification for the 2015 GP campaign.
He hit the front before a tangle between Peter Kildemand and Tomas H Jonasson caused the race to be stopped - and although he again led in the rerun a mistake saw him manage only a third place as his GP dream slipped way.
It remained a hugely encouraging performance from Covatti as he very nearly sprung a surprise with a typically gutsy showing.
2014 FIM GRAND PRIX CHALLENGE, Lonigo
Matej Zagar 13 (after run-off), Jason Doyle 13, Chris Harris 13, Maciej Janowski 11, Nicolas Covatti 10, Thomas H. Jonasson 10, Przemyslaw Pawlicki 10, Peter Kildemand 8, Peter Ljung 7, Hans Andersen 6, Nicolai Klindt 5, Linus Sundstrom 5, Oliver Berntzon 4, Janusz Kolodziej 3, Mads Korneliussen 2, Mattia Carpanese 0, Michele Paco Castagna (reserve) 0, Nicolas Vicentin (reserve) 0.
Top three qualify for 2015 Grand Prix series.
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