Last winter, the HEAD Racing Team collected the trophies: 13 victories, 45 podium-finishes and five crystal globes, among them the one for the Overall World Cup men’s title, were the reward for the outstanding performances of our stars, such as Bode Miller, Didier Cuche, Hermann Maier and Maria Riesch. The HEAD men also won the FIS brand ranking in Super G and downhill with their spectacular successes, such as double victories of the classic downhills in Kitzbühel and Wengen. In the 2008/2009 winter season, the World Cup Rebels, with the new members Anja Pärson, Rainer Schönfelder and Markus Larsson, will take off once again. And now they are going all out for the technical disciplines, too!
The new team members bring a powerful new focus to the technical disciplines: Pärson, Schönfelder and Larsson are highly experienced athletes and contributed their expertise and ideas to the development of the perfect racing ski. “We not only want to dominate the speed World Cup but also score podium ranks in slalom and giant slalom in the new season,” HEAD racing sports manager Rainer Salzgeber said. The new members are not only slalom experts; Anja Pärson and Rainer Schönfelder are also promising prospects for the Overall title.
“I would like to win the Overall World Cup within the next three years – with HEAD!” Rainer Schönfelder has already scored high in the past, but with HEAD he has set his goals even higher. He is now said to be one of the most accomplished skiers in the World Cup circus building on his results in downhill, slalom and combination from last season. Known as a creative innovator who likes to fine tune his material until it is perfect, Schönfelder has contributed much to the development of the racing skis and will prove the remarkable speed capability at this year’s first World Cup event in Sölden. The second new member on the team, Markus Larsson, will focus on slalom, the discipline where he had his best results and where he has already won two World Cup races. “I am convinced that we will be able to become the number one in slalom”, the Swedish racer said about his goals.
Both have joined a well-established team of outstanding athletes –both in character as in athletic capability. Superstars Bode Miller and Didier Cuche are focusing on the Overall World Cup in the 2008/2009 season again. Together with skiing legend Hermann Maier, Kitzbühel winner Marco Büchel, Super G World Champion Patrick Staudacher and the new slalom star Larsson, they make up a team that wants to do nothing less than setting the standards. Some of the HEAD rebels want to get even better and top last year’s impressive victories: “When Hermann Maier joined us last year, he had no time to fine-tune his material. This year, he has had the time. You should never underestimate the Herminator. It may well be that he’ll turn the World Cup upside down this year”, says Rainer Salzgeber. Hans Grugger, who had been injured for such a long time, is also on the team and is now going for top World Cup ranks again after the break he was forced to take after his injury.
Prospects for the HEAD women’s racing team are just as good. As many as three World Cup Rebels are focusing on the Overall World Cup title – headed by Maria Riesch. Last year, the German won two Discipline Cups and is now going for her first overall victory. Riesch is one of the few racers who are ranked among the top ten in all five disciplines. Her toughest opponent this year will likely be her new team mate Anja Pärson, who has won the Overall World Cup twice before and is now going for a new start with HEAD. There is no racer with more experience in winning World Cup races than Pärson: 38 times, the girl from Sweden was on the winners’ podium and she is programmed for more success. Her goals are clear: “I want to win the Overall World Cup title again with the new material”, she said stating it as a matter of fact. After her explosive performance last season, Elisabeth Görgl is also up to competing for the Overall World Cup title. She is hungry for the crystal trophies, after she missed her goal by a narrow margin last year when she ended second in the giant slalom and in the Super G. The team is completed by slalom World Champion Šárka Záhrobská who wants to take advantage of the new slalom skis, defend her title and cause a major shake-up in the World Cup. And wouldn’t that be just like the other HEAD rebels! We are ready; we can barely wait for the World Cup opening!