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Hirscher secures maiden World Cup slalom crown

updated 1:15 PM EDT, Sun March 10, 2013
Austria's Marcel Hirscher took the World Cup slalom title for the first time in his career
Austria's Marcel Hirscher took the World Cup slalom title for the first time in his career
  • Austria's Marcel Hirscher secures his maiden overall World Cup slalom crown
  • Hirscher, the overall World Cup title holder, finishes ahead of Germany's Felix Neureuther
  • Event is won by Croatia's Ivica Kostelic with aggregate time of 1 min, 45.81 secs
  • Hirscher's lead in the overall World Cup race is 149 points with four races remaining

(CNN) -- Austria's Marcel Hirscher secured the World Cup slalom title on Sunday and maintained his lead in the overall standings in testing conditions at the Kranjska Gora run in Slovenia.

The event was claimed by Ivica Kostelic, of Croatia with an aggregate time of one minute, 45.81 seconds but the big winner was Hirscher, who came 0.19 seconds behind the Croatian to finish top of the slalom standings by a distance from Germany's Felix Neureuther.

Hirscher's lead at the top of the overall standings is 149 points from Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal and with four events to come at the World Cup finals in Switzerland he is well placed to defend the title he won in 2012.

Ther 24-year-old knew the slalom crown was his after his nearest rival in the discipline, Germany's Felix Neureuther clipped a gate in his opening run.

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"I always go 100% percent but today there was one difference between my runs -- I made a mistake in the first one and skied as I know in the second one," Hirscher told the official FIS website.

"That's the way I want to ski and it's good to be on the podium again. A big step is done and by scoring 160 points I feel the weekend was really good."

Rain lashed down during most of the afternoon but Hirscher was more than happy the race went ahead.

"If the race would have been canceled today that would have been horrible for me," he added.

"It was for sure on the edge of fairness but I think it was fair enough and in the end the best skiers in the world are still among the top ten. It's not ideal but we obviously can ski even when it's raining."

There was an extra landmark for Hirscher to celebrate. He became the first man to secure eight consecutive slalom podiums since Italian legend Alberta Tomba in the 1991-92 season.

It was an emotional afternoon for Kostelic, who won in Slovenia for the first time in a little over ten years. He was in third going into the second run but received a slice of fortune when Frenchman Alexis Pinturault did not finish his second attempt.

Kostelic said: "It's a wonderful feeling as it's not easy to stay at a high level in any sport nowadays and Slalom is a particularly tough discipline where competition is really dense.

"This victory is a huge relief and it is very important for me. I saw there was a chance I could win here today but I was also aware that Pinturault had to do a big mistake. I was really pushing for a victory today, it was really my main focus."

The women's slalom event in Ofterschwang, Germany was won by Slovenia's Tina Maze, who has already secured the overall World Cup title and remains on course to win five crystal globes in a season.

The 29-year-old posted a time of one minute, 52.85 seconds to beat Wendy Holdener of Switzerland by 0.25 seconds. Her victory took her in front in the discipline standings, replacing American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin at the summit. The 17-year-old came third.

Maze now leads Shriffin by seven points in the slalom standings with one race left next Saturday.

Maze's 22nd World Cup podium pulled her level with Austrian legend Hermann Maier, having already broken her points record in a season. Maze is now on an overall tally of 2,254 after this, her tenth triumph of the season.

"It's so easy to make a mistake in slalom and its so important to stay calm, that's the reason why I don't think too much about these records", she told FIS Alpine website.

"Slalom is the most difficult of the five disciplines in my opinion and if you race in all of them, you don't get much time to train. I trained hard all this week to make sure I could compete with Mikaela and the other specialists."

Maze has already secured the overall and giant slalom titles and now leads in the slalom and the super-G disciplines. She is also still in with a chance of clinching the downhill title at next week's World Cup finals.

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