Coronet Peak Queenstown, August 30 2017: A world-class line-up of international ski racers put on a spectacular display in the first Audi quattro Winter Games NZ FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) slalom races today with Austrian Manuel Feller and Sweden’s Estelle Alphand claiming the titles.
Eighty two men and 47 women started in the high calibre fields with as many as 22 nationalities represented. Cloud rolled in and out in both the men’s and women’s first run but cleared to blue skies for the second.
There was a high attrition rate on the challenging course in the Rocky Gully Race Arena with only 50 men qualified for the second run and just 27 women. Forty men finished both runs and 22 women.
Feller (24), ranked 14th in the world and silver medallist in a recent World Cup slalom in St Moritz, completed his first run in third place in 45.55 and his second in 45.71 for a combined time of 1.31.26.
“I love it down here and it is now my fifth year racing in New Zealand. I knew I was in pretty good shape in slalom and my first run was solid and my second was on the limit. This is a good result for me.”
Feller was third in the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ FIS ANC giant slalom yesterday.
Marc Rochat (24) of Switzerland with a world slalom ranking of 48 was sixth after the first run in 45.98 and pulled out all stops in the second to finish in 46.03 and a total of 1.32.01.
Third place was claimed by Stefan Luitz (25) of Germany, ranked 33 in the world, who recorded 44.69 in the first run and 47.40 in the second for a combined of 1.32.09.
He pipped Switzerland’s Luca Aerni (24) who was left in fourth place in 1.32.24.
The fastest time in the first run of 44.64 was scored by Steffan Winkelhorst of the Netherlands (25) but he could only manage 47.70 in the second and a combined of 1.32.34 to finish fifth.
Mark Engel (26) of the USA had a blistering second run to take the fastest time in 45.62 to finish with a combined of 1.32.47 in sixth place. His first run of 46.85 had him down the list in 14th place.
New Zealand representative Adam Barwood (25) of Queenstown was the fastest Kiwi in 12th place in 1.33.24 (46.98, 46.26).
Coach Nils Coberger of the Coberger Academy said it was an excellent performance in the high quality international field.
Sweden’s Estelle Alphand (22) won the first run in 48.13 and clocked 47.28 in the second for a combined result of 1.35.41.
She was pleased today’s result would reduce her world ranking off 114.
“Slalom has been hard for me but this was a very nice course and the snow stayed hard. This is the first time I have been at Coronet Peak and I am enjoying the racing here.”
Mina Fuerst Holtmann (22) of Norway who won the first ANC giant slalom during the Games and was third equal in yesterday’s event was second overall after finishing fifth in the first run in 48.00. She pulled out all stops in the second to record 46.92 for a final score of 1.35.92 in a tight finish with third placed Katherina Liensberger (20) of Austria.
Liensberger placed second in the first run just outside Alphand in 48.22 and recorded 47.71 in the second for a combined time of 1.35.93. She shared the podium in third place in yesterday’s giant slalom with Holtmann and the same fierce rivalry between the pair was evident again today.
A quick time of 46.90 was the fastest in the second run put in by Canada’s Amelia Smart (19) who finished 9th in 1.37.01.
The first New Zealander home was Georgia Bushell of Mount Hutt who started in bib 40 to finish in 19th place in 1.44.83.
Chairman of the ANC Committee David Howden praised the work of the Coronet Peak and Winter Games NZ race crews.
“Slalom is aggressive and the crews did an amazing job with replacing poles and slipping the course and there were only minimal delays. The ANC race wouldn’t have happened without the quality of the race team.”
24 months ago