Linus lays the requirements down for Panthers

Linus Sundstrom

Linus Sundstrom

LINUS Sundstrom insists qualifying for the play-offs is the minimum requirement for Peterborough this year.

LINUS Sundstrom insists qualifying for the play-offs is the minimum requirement for Peterborough this year.

The Readypower Panthers missed out on the 2012 end-of-season title shoot-out with injuries and their poor away form costing them dearly, but Sundstrom remains confident that if they get the rub of the green this time then they can make a Championship challenge in 2013.

The 22-year-old Swede returns to the Showground for his third successive season with the club – having previously enjoyed two years in the Premier League with Rye House – but is now looking to pick-up some Elite League silverware with the Panthers

He said: “I have to say that the play-offs are not our ultimate goal this year – we have to be looking beyond that - so qualifying for them to start with is an absolute must!

“We look to have put together a very good side so we go into the new campaign feeling confident.

“I think we will be much better away from home this season than we have been the last couple of years as we have riders who can ride on all the different types of tracks.

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“Looking down the starting line-up we’ve got riders that been to all the tracks many times – hence we have the personnel to compete on both the bigger and smaller circuits this year.

“I’m very pleased to be back with the Panthers again – they are a great club to ride for. The management spoke to me quite early about 2013 and we quickly agreed a deal.

“I’m not aware if there was any interest from other clubs as the deal was done within weeks of last season ending, but Peterborough is and will always be my first choice anyway. I have always been made to feel very welcome by everyone at the club and I’ve always been very appreciative that they believed in me when I joined them from Rye House three years ago.

“I’ve made some big strides in my career since I joined the Panthers and I’ve really enjoyed it here. In my opinion it’s the best track and club in the UK!

“This season we have some riders I know very well, such as; Kenneth (Bjerre), Dak (Dakota North) and Norbi (Norbert Kosciuch), but also some new guys as well. I’m looking forward to meeting up with everyone before the season starts and I’m sure we will all get on well with each other. Jan Staechmann is also a very good team manager and I’m sure he will get us to work well as a team – he’s very good at that.

“We have a well-balanced side and if we can all stay injury-free then I think we can have a successful year.

“As far as the other teams go Poole always put a good side together and look decent again, but to be honest I’ve not been studying it all too much. We just need to take care of ourselves and not worry about anyone else.”

Sundstrom has increased his scoring each year since first riding a full season in Britain in 2009 – culminating in an 8.55 top-flight figure in 2012. He’s now looking to further increase that this year plus also make some progress in the World Individual Championship.

He added: “I want to get my average up in all the leagues I’m riding in and I will do my best to push Kenneth for the Panthers number 1 race-jacket.

“I will also do the Grand Prix qualifiers if I get the chance. I was in them last year but was knocked out in the semi- final. I will do my best and look to go as far as I can in the qualifiers in 2013. Ultimately I want to be a GP rider one day.

“It’s going to be a busy but exciting year riding in a number of European leagues. As well as the Panthers in the UK, I will begin my sixth season with Piraterna in Sweden, my second year with Danish side Grinstead, plus I will make my debut in the top Polish league (Ekstraliga) with Gorzow.

“We’re now spending a lot of time getting everything ready and I can’t wait for the season to start.”

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