Great Britain racer Robert Lambert insists racing in the Speedway GP qualifiers won’t make him any less hungry for a World Championship medal as he lines up in Zarnovica on Saturday.

The former European champion faces off with the likes of hometown hero Martin Vaculik and triple Australian champion Max Fricke at the Slovak circuit, where the top four riders earn places at the FIM GP Challenge on Lambert’s old home track Gislaved in Sweden on August 19.

Lambert started his Speedway GP season with a second place and 18 championship points at the opening round in Croatia, before scoring five at the last round in Warsaw.

He’s still fifth in the standings on 23 points – just 13 short of top two Bartosz Zmarzlik and Freddie Lindgren – and a top-six finish would be enough to qualify the world No.5 for the 2024 Speedway GP series automatically.

While Lambert is chasing more than a top-six finish in this season’s Speedway GP series, he also sees the qualification rounds as another way to secure his spot for next year.

He said: “The whole point of doing these qualification rounds is to take the pressure off the GPs. Last year I qualified on my own merit and finished fifth in the championship and that’s how I want to do it again this year.

“But at the same time, the qualifiers are a bit of a back-up. If we go there and get the result, that’s great. If not, we can focus on the GPs.

“The goal of the year is to get a medal and that’s still what I want to do. That doesn’t change by me racing these qualification rounds.”

Lambert spent two seasons with Swedish side Lejonen – host club for the FIM GP Challenge. With only the top three riders in Gislaved booking their places in the 2024 Speedway GP series, the Norfolk star hopes his track knowledge will come in handy if he makes the qualification cut in Zarnovica.

The Smederna star said: “I kind of know Gislaved pretty well. I knew in the middle of last season that the Challenge was going to be there. My old boss at Lejonen came up after the meeting when I was there with Smederna and told me. I don’t know if that was a ploy to try and get me back racing in Gislaved, but it didn’t work!

“I have some good knowledge of the Gislaved track and in many kinds of conditions as well. That’s good to have and we will see after this weekend whether I need to use that knowledge or not.”

Lambert, Vaculik and Fricke are joined in the Zarnovica qualifier by the likes of Czech charger Vaclav Milik, former World Under-21 champion Bartosz Smektala, former Polish champion Szymon Wozniak, Denmark’s Frederik Jakobsen and American international Luke Becker.

Another qualifier also takes place at Italian club Lonigo on Saturday, where former Speedway GP stars Niels-Kristian Iversen, Piotr Pawlicki and Oliver Berntzon are bidding for Challenge places, along with the likes of former World Under-21 champion Jaimon Lidsey, GB star Tom Brennan, Finnish racer Timo Lahti, Czech international Jan Kvech and Italy’s Paco Castagna.

There are two further Speedway GP qualification rounds at German track Abensberg and Hungarian circuit Debrecen on Monday.

Former world champion Jason Doyle is among the contenders in Abensberg, along with Swedish Speedway GP rival Kim Nilsson. Former SGP stars Chris Harris and Przemyslaw Pawlicki also race in Bavaria, along with the likes of Aussie racer Rohan Tungate, Denmark’s Mads Hansen, French star Dimitri Berge and German SGP2 shooting star Norick Blodorn.

Australian champion Jack Holder races in the Debrecen qualifier. He takes on the likes of Speedway GP first reserve Andzejs Lebedevs, German ace Kai Huckenbeck, Poland’s Janusz Kolodziej, Denmark’s Michael Jepsen Jensen, French racer David Bellego, double Swedish champion Jacob Thorssell, former British champion Adam Ellis, Finland’s Timi Salonen, Ukrainian star Marko Levishyn and Czech SGP2 rider Petr Chlupac.

Four riders from each round qualify for the FIM GP Challenge, provided at least one rider from Sweden makes the cut. If not, only three riders progress from the Debrecen round and one Swedish wild card will be nominated for the Challenge.

ZARNOVICA LINE-UP: 1 Lukas Fienhage (Germany), 2 Vitalii Lysak (Ukraine), 3 Daniel Klima (Czech Republic), 4 Bartosz Smektala (Poland), 5 Nick Skorja (Slovenia), 6 Filip Hjelmland (Sweden), 7 Luke Becker (USA), 8 Nicolas Vicentin (Italy), 9 Martin Vaculik (Slovakia), 10 Max Ruml (USA), 11 Victor Palovaara (Sweden), 12 Szymon Woźniak (Poland), 13 Robert Lambert (Great Britain), 14 Max Fricke (Australia), 15 Vaclav Milik (Czech Republic), 16 Frederik Jakobsen (Denmark). RESERVES: 17 Jakub Valkovic (Slovakia), 18 Adam Carada (Slovakia).

LONIGO LINE-UP: 1 Matic Ivacic (Slovenia), 2 Michele Castagna (Italy), 3 Niels Kristian Iversen (Denmark), 4 Denis Stojs (Slovenia), 5 Oliver Berntzon (Sweden), 6 Tom Brennan (Great Britain), 7 Timo Lahti (Finland), 8 Piotr Pawlicki (Poland), 9 Marius Hillebrand (Germany), 10 Facundo Martin Cuello (Argentina), 11 Mathias Trésarrieu (France), 12 Nicolas Covatti (Italy), 13 Andrea Battaglia (Italy), 14 Jan Kvech (Czech Republic), 15 Jaimon Lidsey (Australia), 16 Eber Ampugnani (Argentina). RESERVE: 17 Matteo Boncinelli (Italy).

ABENSBERG LINE-UP: 1 Gino Manzares (USA), 2 Mika Meijer (Netherlands), 3 Rohan Tungate (Australia), 4 Eduard Krcmar (Czech Republic), 5 Norick Blödorn (Germany), 6 Przemysław Pawlicki (Poland), 7 Mads Hansen (Denmark), 8 Dimitri Bergé (France), 9 Sébastian Kössler (Austria), 10 Jason Doyle (Australia), 11 Kevin Wölbert (Germany), 12 Kim Nilsson (Sweden), 13 Glenn Moi (Norway), 14 Chris Harris (Great Britain), 15 Nicolo Percotti (Italy), 16 Jevgenijs Kostigovs (Latvia). RESERVES: 17 Martin Smolinski (Germany), 18 Valentin Grobauer (Germany).

DEBRECEN LINE-UP: 1 Michael Jepsen Jensen (Denmark), 2 Andrei Popa (Romania), 3 David Bellego (France), 4 Norbert Magosi (Hungary), 5 Marko Levishyn (Ukraine), 6 Petr Chlupac (Czech Republic), 7 Andzejs Lebedevs (Latvia), 8 Kai Huckenbeck (Germany), 9 Janusz Kołodziej (Poland), 10 Andreas Lyager (Denmark), 11 Jack Holder (Australia), 12 Adam Ellis (Great Britain), 13 Jacob Thorssell (Sweden), 14 Roland Kovacs (Hungary), 15 Timi Salonen (Finland), 16 Antti Vuolas (Finland). RESERVES: 17 Mark Barany (Hungary), 18 Richard Füzesi (Hungary).