By Manuele Lang
KITZBUEHEL, Austria, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Aksel Lund Svindal took his first victory on the Hahnenkamm mountain on Friday, winning a World Cup super-G race.
The Norwegian Olympic champion, who was on the podium in the same race in 2009 and 2011, clocked the fastest time of one minute 14.48 seconds to make up for his disappointment in Wengen last weekend when he crashed out of the Lauberhorn downhill.
It was Svindal’s fourth top spot of the season and the third in a super-G, and allowed him to narrow the gap on overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria to 88 points.
“It’s a really important win because I’ve been asked so many times why I didn’t deliver in Kitzbuehel,” Svindal told reporters.
“It’s astounding because I had been doing well in super-G in the past but I’m doing even better. With three wins in the discipline, I’ve reached another level this season.”
Svindal crushed the crowd’s hopes of a first Austrian victory on the Streif piste in four years, beating local favourite Matthias Mayer by 0.13 seconds.
Mayer, 22, had never done better than sixth in a World Cup super-G before.
Christof Innerhofer, who will defend his world title in Schladming in less than two weeks, was third.
The podium place was some compensation for the Italian who was furious at being fined and allocated a high bib number for Saturday’s downhill here as punishment for starting Thursday’s practice while a yellow warning flag was up.
“I’m really angry and surprised at the way things turned out,” said Innerhofer whose prospects on Saturday will be seriously hampered by the sanction.
“I really hope I still have a slight chance for tomorrow,” said Innerhofer, who won the Beaver Creek and Wengen downhills this season.
Svindal, who dominated downhill practice, will again be the favourite in Saturday’s classic race.