Swiss Dominate FIS Downhill in Val Gardena/Gröden

The two Raiffeisen Challenge FIS Downhill races in Val Gardena/Gröden were dominated by Swiss speed specialists. Niels Hinterman won the first race on Piz Sella above Selva/Wolkenstein.

The 19-year-old from the Swiss Ski Club Hausen in Albis clocked a winning time of 1’21.04 minutes ahead of yesterday's Super-G double winner Silvano Varettoni (ITA / + 21sec) and Henri Battilani (ITA / + 52sec). 21-year-old confederate Ralph Weber won the second Downhill ahead of South Tyrolean Werner Heel (+40sec) and Swiss compatriot and winner of the first race Niels Hintermann (+41sec).

Course setter Horst Demetz had flagged out the run with 27 gates. The track length was 2496 meters. The FIS score used was 9.00. Italian national team skier Verena Stuffer was among the forerunners.

A total of 140 athletes from 15 nations took part in the four competitions of the FIS Raiffeisen Challenge on April 7th and 8th in Val Gardena/Gröden including two Super-Gs and two Downhills.  The two combined slaloms were canceled by the jury due to scheduling conflicts. The speed races were conducted in clear sunshine and optimal snow conditions. Race Director Rainer Senoner was very satisfied with the progress of the competition: "The lift company Piz Sella and the many volunteers have vigorously helped to organize these end-of-season races. We also benefited during the races from the low temperatures of up to -7 degrees Celsius."

The competitions were originally planned for December, but had to be postponed due to lack of snow. They were organized by Saslong Classic Club, host of the annual World Cup races in Val Gardena/Gröden.

1st Downhill
1.    Niels Hintermann (SUI) 1’21.04
2.    Silvano Varettoni (ITA) 1’21.25
3.    Henri Battilani (ITA) 1’21.56
4.    Paolo Pangrazzi (ITA) 1’21.57
5.    Michele Cortella (ITA) 1’21.98
6.    Mattia Casse (ITA) 1’22.03
7.    Peter Fill (ITA) 1’22.06
8.    Nils Mani (SUI) 1’22.34
9.    Ralph Weber (SUI) 1’22.34
10.    Siegmar Klotz (ITA) 1‘1’22.38

2nd Downhill
1.    Ralph Weber (SUI) 1’22.67
2.    Werner Heel (ITA) 1’23.07
3.    Niels Hintermann (SUI) 1’23.08
4.    Silvano Varettoni (ITA) 1’23.35
5.    Paolo Pangrazzi (ITA) 1’23.47
6.    Dominik Zuech (ITA) 1’23.64
7.    Henri Battilani (ITA) 1’23.77
8.    Emanuele Buzzi (ITA) 1’23.94
9.    Peter Fill (ITA) 1’23.99
10.    Michele Cortella (ITA) 1’24.08