Hirscher reigns supreme in Levi slalom
Marcel Hirscher laid down a marker in the first men's slalom event of the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup season with a dominant triumph on the Levi Black course.
Second to Alexis Pinturault in last month's season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, five-time reigning World Cup champion Hirscher proved a class apart in Finland on Sunday.
Despite suffering from a middle ear infection, the Austrian posted the fastest time in both runs - ensuring his margin of victory over compatriot Michael Matt was a convincing 1.30 seconds.
Matt edged out Italy's Manfred Moelgg (+1.31secs) for second, with Felix Neureuther (+1.41s), Manuel Feller (+1.48s), Dave Ryding and Mattias Hargin (both +1.57s) close behind.
On a day that saw the field face challenging conditions, with freezing fog at the top of the course, Hirscher led from Marco Schwarz and Neureuther after the first run.
Schwarz then failed to complete the second run and Neureuther was unable to retain a place on the podium as Hirscher streaked further clear with a stunning display, comfortably securing a 40th World Cup win.
Last year's slalom champion, Henrik Kristoffersen, sat out the event due to a dispute with the Norwegian Ski Federation over a sponsorship agreement.