Coronet Peak, Queenstown, August 31 2017: Swiss World Cup skier Marc Rochat and Austrian representative Chiara Mair flew the flags for their respective countries at the second Audi quattro Winter Games NZ FIS ANC slalom race at Coronet Peak today.
The 55 gate courses in the Rocky Gully race arena provided challenges in the first run with light fog affecting some athletes, however by the second run the skies had cleared.
Seventy-eight men started with 28 failing to finish the first run while the field of 42 women was reduced to 30 for the second run.
Forty men completed the two runs and Rochat (24) continued his winning form to claim the gold medal in today’s race after taking silver in the first slalom yesterday. He was second fastest in the first run in 42.89 just behind Steffan Winkelhorst (25) of the Netherlands who clocked 42.69.
The order was reversed in the second run with Rochat recording 45.81 to take the lead in a combined of 1.28.70 while Winkelhorst, who won slalom at the 2017 French National Championships, had to be content with second place, scoring 46.53 and a total of 1.29.22.
Rochat was upbeat about his victory and his performance overall in the slaloms at the Games.
“The course was very bumpy in the second run but I really like the snow conditions here. I am hoping to qualify for the 2018 Olympics and it is good to have these races at Coronet Peak.”
Third place went to Michael Ankeny (26) of the USA who is ranked 74th in slalom. His two runs of 43.54 and 45.77 for a combined 1.29.31 put him on the podium ahead of fourth placed Luca Aerni (24) of Switzerland in 1.29.76.
The fastest time in the second run was a blistering performance put in by Gustav Lundbaeck (24) of Sweden in 44.76 who finished 15th overall.
The first New Zealander was William Ferrar (18) who placed 38th in 1.51.84 after starting in bib 76.
Twenty four women completed race which proved to be an Austrian women’s team battle at the top with Chiara Mair (20) ranked 51 in slalom pipping team mate Katharina Liensberger (20) who won bronze in the first slalom yesterday.
Mair had the fastest first run of 48.23 while Liensberger won the second in 52.30 ahead of Mair’s 52.89. However, Mair had enough of a margin to give her the win in a combined 1.41.12 with Liensberger splits behinds in 1.41.42.
Third placed Martina Dubovska (24) of Czech Republic, winner of the Coronet Peak night dual slalom on the opening night of Winter Games NZ, was snapping at their heels recording 49.15 in the first run and 52.65 in the second for a combined result of 1.41.80.
Dubovska just headed off Norwegian women’s team member Kristin Lysdahl (21) in 1.41.83 in a heated contest for the final spot on the podium.
New Zealand representative Piera Hudson (21) was fastest Kiwi taking out 13th place in 1.43.97.
Mair praised the slalom course which was “perfect for me.” She previously raced at Coronet Peak in 2015 winning the ANC Cup giant slalom and said she was always keen to return to New Zealand to train and compete.
The final race at Coronet Peak in the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ alpine event – the men’s second FIS ANC giant slalom is scheduled for tomorrow (September 1).
23 months ago