0736 GMT February 21, 2020
Mayer, gold medalist in downhill at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and in the super-G in 2018, clocked 1min 56.59sec down the thigh-trembling 3.3km-long Streif course on the Hahnenkamm mountain, making the most of the absence through injury of three-time downhill champion Dominik Paris of Italy, AFP reported.
Mayer's teammate Vincent Kriechmayr and Switzerland's Beat Feuz, winner of the Wengen downhill last weekend and already three times second-placed in the Austrian resort, tied for second, at 0.22sec. Norway's Kjetil Jansrud, winner of Friday's super-G (with Mayer third), was sixth behind the French duo of Johan Clarey and Maxence Muzaton.
"To be at the top here is of course very important," Mayer told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
"There are thousands of fans," he said. "Everyone cheers for you, everyone screams. The tension is there, but I was really happy because I thought it could work out.
"There is nothing better for me than to take the lead on the downhill. It's really incredible and I'm really happy about it."
The 29-year-old Austrian laid down a near-perfect line to master a course that falls, snakes and rolls, sending competitors barreling through a wide variety of terrain, in parts propelling them 60 meters in the air, only for them to quickly realign for icy traverses that severely test technical ability and mastery of well-honed equipment.