WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) — Felix Neureuther of Germany finally mastered Marcel Hirscher, his regular training partner, to win a high-class World Cup slalom on Sunday.
Neureuther made up a 0.05-second deficit from the first run to win by 0.21 from the Austrian overall World Cup leader, who was seeking his fourth straight slalom win. The 28-year-old German threw his arms out wide and shouted with delight on crossing the line, then repeated the gesture as he watched first-run leader Hirscher fall short of victory.
"I'm really very happy and proud of myself," said Neureuther. "It's fun for me and Marcel too, I guess, to have such a good fight." Ivica Kostelic of Croatia was third, 0.25 behind Neureuther's two-run time of 1 minute, 50.53 seconds. Kostelic was seeking to win the Wengen slalom for the fourth straight year.
Hirscher extended his lead in the overall standings to 188 points from Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who skips slalom races. "I'm very satisfied," said the 23-year-old Austrian." I was even lucky to finish second because Ivica was very close. For me, it's a gain."
Hirscher leads the slalom standings from Neureuther, and stretched his record of finishing on the podium in every slalom he has completed to 18 races over the past two years. Ted Ligety of the United States, who is third overall, placed 13th, 1.33 behind Neureuther. Ligety earned 20 World Cup points and is 239 behind defending champion Hirscher.
It was Neureuther's second World Cup win this season, adding to the New Year's Day parallel racing event at Munich, Germany. He has four career victories and, with victory in slalom at Wengen, followed his father Christian who won here in 1973 and '74.
Kostelic also wrote a chapter of personal history by finishing on the Wengen podium for the 12th time. He surpassed Alpine greats Ingemar Stenmark, Marc Girardelli and Didier Cuche who got 11 top-3 finishes at a single World Cup venue.
"These are the biggest names that Alpine sport has. The moment when you beat these guys is like a dream," the 33-year-old Kostelic said. "Coming into today's race I had this in mind. It seemed like it was a good chance."
Kostelic was cheered on by a crowd of 8,000 spectators, including a flag-waving group of Croatia fans who traditionally arrive to support him on Sundays here. In a tight race on a clear, sunny day, Hirscher had 14 rivals within one second of him after the morning run, though one expected challenge faded out.
Alexis Pinturault of France, whose slick slalom run Friday lifted him to victory in the super-combined event, almost skied out and did not qualify for the second run. Ligety's teammates David Chodounsky and Will Brandenburg both finished outside the top-30 racers who qualified.