Austrian with quite a gap over Žabjek, Tetzlaff, Vauh… Festival of flat tires on the rocky track.
Just under 150 riders from 8 countries took part in today’s semi-final run of Downhill Lošinj race on the track from Sv. Ivan to Veli Lošinj. The start list for Sunday’s final run will be based on today’s results with the fastest starting as last.
Austrian Markus Pekoll (MS Mondraker Team) was the fastest in men’s elite category. On the 1.7km roky track the UCI’s number 23 and World Champion’s teammate was 3.7 seconds faster than Slovenian champion Jure Žabjek (Unior Tools Team). Another Austrian Boris Teztlaff (RC WSV Schladming), Pekoll’s neighbour from Schladming, was third.
Slovenian Miran Vauh (Blackthorn) in 4th and Brit Oliver Morris (Intense Racing UK) in 5th rounded out the top five.
Yet Pekoll’s time is still almost 12 seconds slower than last year’s winning time of Slawomir Lukasik, so the rebuilt course may be slower than the old one. We’ll know more tomorrow when real racing will go on. The course is proving to be excellent with plenty of line choices, but it is a World Cup course and not very friendly to less experienced riders.
There were only four ladies on start and Monika Hrastnik (Blackthorn) set the fastest time in front of Katarina Primožič (Batt Team) and Špela Horvat (BK KKJ – WD40 Bike), all Slovenians.
Matic Kokelj (Slo, Wolf Racing Team) was the fastest junior with top under 17 rider Marko Niemiz (Sinter Brakes Team) right behind him.
The cold winds calmed down on the islands so it was warm and nice on the course and in the finish area today. A number of riders were in a slightly darker mood for finishing on flat tires – about every fifth rider!
Sunday starts with practice time until noon, the final run starts at 1.30pm.