Mario Seidl won the first of two remaining Summer Grand Prix events in Planica and extends his advantage in the overall standings. The Austrian finished his race 33 seconds ahead of teammate Martin Fritz. Frenchman Maxime Laheurte was overjoyed to return to the podium after an absence of 12 years from an Individual Gundersen podium on the highest competition levels. He finished 44.5 seconds after Seidl.
Seidl took a big lead of 57 seconds in the jumping part when he jumped to fantastic 141.5 metres. Norway’s Espen Bjørnstad was his closest pursuer but had only 133.5 metres (118.9 p.) to show for. Maxime Laheute was the third man out of the start gates with a delay of exactly one minute after his 131.5 metre jump.
Like in the PCR, the starting field became more clustered after the top three athletes with number four, Francois Braud starting at +1:14, David Pommer and Johannes Lamparter following at +1:21 and +1:24 and Espen Andersen getting the green light at +1:27.
Ilkka Herola had to start his race for the overall 2018 with a delay of one minute and 56 seconds from position 13 but was able to start with fellow fast skier Magnus Moan, who was 14th and exactly two minutes behind Seidl.
Even though the weather gods had been friendly to the athletes during the jumping round and sent calm and dry jumping weather, the day took a decidedly uncomfortable turn right before the roller ski race when heavy rain set in. Unfazed, Mario Seidl skied his laps and had a solid race plan that had him never in any danger of being attacked by his pursuers.
They certainly did not fail due to lack of trying. While Ilkka Herola, in the company of fast skiers Magnus Moan and Paul Gerstgraser, kept pushing from behind, Maxime Laheurte skied a courageous race and dropped Espen Bjørnstad, who had started together with him. Espen Andersen, Martin Fritz, David Pommer, Johannes Lamparter and Francois Braud formed an in-between group.
While the race ended on a very positive note for Martin Fritz, who pushed hard on the last laps and managed to conquer the second place in the end, and Espen Andersen, who turned a seventh place into the final fourth position, Espen Bjørnstad and Francois Braud dropped to positions five and seven. Ilkka Herola finished the competition on rank eight, Magnus Moan was ninth and Johannes Lamparter raked his first Top Ten result on position ten.
In the overall, this means a 78-point lead for Seidl, so that Herola would have to perform really well tomorrow, while Seidl would have to miss out on most of the point ranks to to topple from the throne. Martin Fritz climbed on the podium’s third step with his result today, totalling at 216 points.