Stephan Leyhe of Germany won the qualification for the FIS Ski Jumping Grand Prix in Hinterzarten (GER) on Friday evening with a jump of 104 m and 138.7 points.
"This is my home hill and it suits me quite well. It has a special profile with a steep inrun and that's good for me. It was a nice day and now I'm already looking forward to tomorrow. I think a Top 10 finish is realistic for me, but I want to focus more on showing technically good jumps than on the result", said Stephan Leyhe.
Poles strong again
Behind the winner, the athletes of Poland once again presented themselves in a very good shape. Dawid Kubacki, the outstanding jumper of this summer's first Grand Prix weekend in Wisla, was second with 103.5 m and 135.9 points. He was followed by his teammates Stefan Hula (104 m and 134.1 points) and Piotr Zyla (100 m and 133.1 points).
The fifth place went to Czech Roman Koudelka. Behind him, Markus Eisenbichler, who was not competing in Wisla due to his police training, had a good start into this summer season in sixth. Besides Leyhe and Eisenbichler, also Karl Geiger, Richard Freitag and Andreas Wank showed convincing performances for the hosting team in 9th, 11th and 13th.
Best Austrian in this qualification was Gregor Schlierenzauer in seventh, closely followed by the best Norwegian athlete, Halvor Egner Granerud. Maciej Kot was tenth and the fourth Pole in the Top 10, Kamil Stoch was not far behind in 13th. It was yet another impressive performance by the team of head coach Stefan Horngacher.
Kraft and Prevc with room for improvement
Last season's high-flyer Stefan Kraft started his summer season with a 27th place, Peter Prevc was 31st and so both will have to significantly improve their performance in the competition if they want to fight for the top spots.
It was a successful day for the team of Switzerland around Simon Ammann. Besides the four-time Olympic champion, also Kilian Peier (18th), Gregor Deschwanden (32nd) and Tobias Birchler (48th) qualified for the competition. All three Finns, who traveled to the Black Forest, Jarkko Maeaettae, Antti Aalto and Eetu Nousiainen, will also get the chance to compete on Saturday.
Norway's Tom Hilde barely made the cut for the competition, he tied for 49th with Martti Nomme of Estonia.
Vojtech Stursa of the Czech Republic, Slovenia's Bor Pavlovcic and Alexey Romashov of Russia were among those who could not qualify. The two young Germans Tim Fuchs and Martin Hamann, will not have the chance to prove themselves in front of the home crowd. Just like Italian Alex Insam they were disqualified already before their jumps because the suits did not meet the rules.
The competition in Hinterzarten takes place on Saturday at 8:30 pm CET.