Johann Andre Forfang of Norway won the final qualification of the 2017/18 World Cup season on Thursday in Planica (SLO).
In the qualification on the HS 240 Letalnica-hill, which was held in changing wind conditions, the 22-year-old from Tromsoe jumped on 241 m and scored a total of 243.4 points.
Like the Norwegians, also the Slovenes are considered experts when it comes to the really big hills. This fact was proved today by Anze Semenic, who finished second with 234 m and 235.3 points. The third place went to Dawid Kubacki of Poland, with 224.5 m and 227.7 points.
Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi also did a really good job and was fourth with a strong jump of 229.5 m. Richard Freitag and Stephan Leyhe were the two best Germans on day one in Planica. Both showed convincing performances and were fifth and sixth. Their teammate Markus Eisenbichler, who presented himself in a very good shape last weekend in Vikersund, finished 12th in this qualification.
Overall World Cup winner Kamil Stoch was eighth, right behind his fellow countryman Stefan Hula, and only the third-best of an extremely strong Polish team. A few days after his first World Cup win in Vikersund, Robert Johansson didn't finish among the very best today. The Norwegian was ninth.Schlierenzauer with top flight
The highlight of the day was provided by Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer. In very good conditions he equaled the world record distance of 253.5 m of his teammate Stefan Kraft, but he had to touch den snow with his hands right after landing. This means that he wasn't able to stand the jump and so the hill record in Planica remains at 251.5 m, set by Kamil Stoch a year ago. Schlierenzauer came in tenth in the qualification.
At the end of a difficult season for them, the two local heroes Jurij Tepes and Robert Kranjec showed that they are always doing especially well on the hill here in Planica. They came in 16th and 21st and had no problems to qualify for the first individual competition of the weekend.
The difficult conditions today caused problems for many usually very good ski flyers. For example, Stefan Kraft and Simon Ammann were only 22nd and 23rd, the leader of the Ski Flying World Cup, Andreas Stjernen, was 26th, right behind Peter Prevc.
The day went even worse for Ski Flying World Champion Daniel Andre Tande who finished 41st and narrowly failed to make the cut for the competition This means that his hopes to win the Ski Flying World Cup, in which he is currently third, are over. Piotr Zyla, Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes, Domen Prevc and Andreas Wellinger also failed to qualify.
This weekend's first competition will start on Friday at 3 pm CET (trial round: 2 pm CET).