Not serial winners Eric Frenzel or Johannes Rydzek but Japanese youngster Go Yamamoto stole the show and won the first Provisional Competition Round of the season in Ruka.
The first jumping round of the winter was marked by low temperatures and slightly changing wind conditions but the 20-year-old talented ski jumper had a superb jump of 139.5 metres that put him into the leader board with bib number eight. Yamamoto never left. Closest to challenging the Japanese came Norwegian Espen Andersen, who set 137 metres and with 140.6 to Yamamoto’s 143.6 points, the Norwegian took 12 second of time disadvantage in the case that the PCR has to be used in adverse weather conditions over the weekend.
Mario Seidl, bearer of the blue bib of the best jumper, lived up to his name with rank three. 138 metres and 136.7 points would mean an advantage of 28 seconds for Yamamoto at the start line. The rest of the Top Ten spots were distributed between Martin Fritz, Tomas Portyk, Eero Hirvonen, Wilhelm Denifl, Lukas Greiderer, Francois Braud, Maxime Laheurte and Eric Frenzel.
Due to the big hill size and changing conditions, the field was spread out far for a possible cross-country race based on the PCR. Only the first seven athletes started within a minute from the leader. The last qualified athlete, Viacheslav Barkov would have a whopping five minutes and eight seconds to make up.
Among the unlucky 16 athletes not to qualify were Germany’s Manuel Faißt and Martin Hahn, Ben Berend and Taylor Fletcher, Laurent Muhlethaler, Hideaki Nagai.