Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
Defending champion Cameron Naasz of the USA posted the fastest time down the 630-meter long natural ice track in Friday’s qualification ahead of Saturday’s second Red Bull Crashed Ice race of the 2017/18 season.
Mirko Lahti, last year’s Junior World Champion, stopped the clock in 53.22 seconds, only three hundredths of a second behind Naasz’s winning time of 52.19 seconds to take a strong second. Scott Croxall of Canada, who has won the last three races in Jyväskylä, landed in the third spot in the Shootout with a time of 53.70 seconds. Naasz showed he was back on track with the fastest qualifying time, speedily recovering from a disappointing fourth place at the last Red Bull Crashed Ice race in Saint Paul, where he watched Austrian Marco Dallago beat him in the Shootout and then win the race on his home ice.
Under heavy snowfall, which made the 630-meter long natural ice track difficult to navigate, Dallago came in fourth place as the world’s best Ice Cross Downhill racers battled for top spots in the qualifying competition for Saturday’s race.
The top 32 qualified automatically while the bottom 50 racers got a chance to earn one of the remaining 32 spots in Saturday’s final in the Last Chance Qualifier’s race. After the round of 32, the Last Chance Qualifiers had to be abruptly ended due to the heavy snowfall.
“There are a lot of holes in the track and it’s really rough.” said Lahti about the snow-covered track on Friday. The rising young Finnish star aced his first run in the Shootout and he didn’t bother to run a second time around. The race proved to be a close one and Lahti is hunting Naasz. The 2017 Junior World Championship winner was in 11th place in the Men’s World Championship last year. His goal is to at least reach the final heats of every Men’s Championship race.
In the women’s Shootout with a field of 27 racers, Anais Morand of Switzerland (1:00.29 seconds) was over two seconds faster than Sandrine Rangeon of France (1:02.51 seconds) while Canada’s Tamara Kajah was third and Amanda Trunzo (USA) took fourth place.