NEWS
02/19/2012 05:27 EST | Updated 04/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Marcel Hirscher wins World Cup slalom race in Bulgaria to close gap in overall standings

BANSKO, Bulgaria - Marcel Hirscher won his second race in two days on the Banderitsa course, taking a World Cup slalom Sunday ahead of Andre Myhrer of Sweden.

Hirscher led after the first run and clocked 58.03 seconds in the afternoon to win in a combined time of 1 minute, 52.64 seconds. His compatriot Mario Matt finished with the second best time, but was disqualified for a gate infringement.

That lifted Myhrer into second, 0.57 seconds back, while Stefano Gross of Italy was third, 0.90 seconds behind.

Hirscher is now just 18 points behind leader Ivica Kostelic in the overall standings, with the Croatian sidelined with a knee injury. The two victories in Bansko helped Hirscher overtake his other leading contender, Swiss speed skier Beat Feuz, who preferred to rest this weekend after his downhill victory in Sochi.

"I try to do my best," Hirscher said. "What I'm doing is to let the skis run."

While Kostelic is out for several weeks after having surgery on his right knee, Hirscher doesn't want to start eyeing the crystal globe given to the overall World Cup winner just yet.

"We will see," he said. "For me it is important to stay stable on the course and take the curves in the best possible way."

Nolan Kasper of the United States put together a fast second run to finish sixth, climbing from 23rd after the first run for his fifth career top-10 finish.

"It was a good, although difficult, race. The snow was pretty soft due to the sunny weather," said the 22-year-old Warren, from Warren, Vermont. "In the second run I managed to compensate for the disappointing first run."

His teammate Ted Ligety was seventh.

After a superb second run, Japan's Naoki Yuasa climbed from 16th to fifth, finishing 1.43 back.

Germany's Felix Neureuther was third after the first run but skied out in the afternoon. So did Jens Byggmark of Sweden, who was seventh in the morning.