Gottwald wins fourth Nordic combined event

Saturday, January 5th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SCHONACH, Germany (AP) _ Austria's Felix Gottwald won his fourth Nordic Combined World Cup event of the season on Saturday while German rival Ronny Ackermann finished third.

Gottwald ended 2.8 seconds ahead of Finland's Samppa Lajunen with Ackermann 18.2 back after two jumps followed by a 15 kilometer cross-country race.

Ackermann retained a narrow lead in the overall standings with 1220 points to 1200 for Gottwald. Both have captured four of the 10 World Cup events this season.

Ackermann hoped to become the first German to win in Schonach since 1987, but lost his lead after the jumps against Gottwald, his leading challenger for gold at the upcoming Olympics.

``Naturally I would have like to win here but Gottwald turned in a very strong performance,'' Ackermann said.

Finland's Jaako Tallus leaped 95 and 94 meters to take the lead after the jumping. Ackermann was second, 38 seconds back, while Gottwald was fourth, trailing by 1 minute 4 seconds.

Gottwald captured his 10th World Cup title of his career and took home 10,000 euros (dlrs 8,960).

He also gained the lead in the German Grand Prix series after three events, with 475 points to Ackermann's 375. Lajunen is third at 320.