Coronet Peak, New Zealand, played host to the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) giant slalom races on Monday and Tuesday, kicking off another week of fast-paced racing action in the Southern Hemisphere.
The first GS race of the series went to Queenstown, New Zealand, local Alice Robinson and Adam Zampa of Slovakia in fields dominated by prominent World Cup racers. Both Zampa and Robinson scored 6-point results today, giving them a leg up as the two gear up for the fast-approaching Northern Hemisphere winter.
“It’s such a nice feeling,” an ecstatic Robinson said. “It is crazy. My second run was definitely on the edge with a couple of close calls but it was solid. Conditions are great out there.”
Top British racer Alex Tilley put down two very fast runs finishing in second place, 0.75 seconds back and German World Cup skier Lena Duerr finished in third place, 0.85 seconds behind 16-year-old Robinson.
In the men’s field, racing was very tight with second place going to Sam Maes of Belgium, 0.52 seconds back, and tied for third were teammates from the Netherlands, Steffan Winkelhorst and Maarten Meiners, both 1.31 seconds behind Zampa.
Zampa is no stranger to the Audi quattro Winter Games with 11 podium appearances over the past years here at ANC events on Coronet Peak, seven of which have been Gold Medals.
“I am very happy coming back from injury as last year was hard with my knee,” Zampa said following his victory. “This year I hope I am back and I am working very hard with my team. I hope we are in a good way before the Northern winter. I am happy I won today!”
Conditions were bluebird at Coronet Peak on Monday with the women and men racing on the same courses. Conditions softened in some parts of the course for the second run, producing some exciting and nail-biting finishes as the top 30 came scorching down the technical GS course — ‘Outwide’ at Rocky Gully.
Top performances in challenging conditions in Tuesday’s GS racing saw Austrian World Cup rising star Katharina Truppe and Belgium’s Sam Maes take the victories in the women’s and men’s events after outstanding runs in challenging conditions.
19-year-old Maes is no newcomer to FIS podiums after gaining the coveted ‘yellow bib’ from his stunning wins in the first part of the Australia New Zealand Cup series last week at Mt Hotham, Australia.
With Coronet Peak as his New Zealand training base, Maes was ecstatic about his win in another world-class men’s field.
“First of all it was a lot of fun,” a happy Maes explained. “I had perfect snow for my first run and smashed it. The second run was tougher, as you run later in the day if you have a good first run. I fought the whole way and made a couple of mistakes but my skis ran very well.”
Mathias Graf of Austria and Matthias Roenngren of Sweden laid down scorching runs to finish second and third, completing an all-European men’s podium.
New Zealand’s Adam Barwood skied strongly into 13th spot and Willis Feasey finishing in 15th place as top Kiwi racers.
Truppe showed her dominant form once more, leading after the first run and putting down a very fast second run in challenging conditions on course for her second win of the series. Maryna Gasienica-Daniel of Poland skied a very strong run to finish in second place with Lena Duerr of Germany skiing strongly into third place. Great Britain’s Tilley and yesterday’s winner Robinson were unable to complete the challenging second run course, putting them out of contention for the top places.
New Zealand’s Piera Hudson skied a very solid second run in soft bumpy conditions to finish fourth overall for top New Zealand finisher.
Racing continues on Wednesday and Thursday in the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ with two days of slalom racing on the ‘Outwide’ course at Coronet Peak.
For complete GS results, click here.
Release courtesy of Winter Games NZ.