Race report WC 2, Vars - 4 Feb 2018

The second FIS World Cup race in Vars brought higher speeds, sunshine and a slight wind to the equation. With the tension from the first race day over, the racers were eager to fight for the positions. 

11:00 Race Run (Net #1 below traverse)

With the breaking area re-groomed the day before, and the track freshly groomed during the morning the conditions were a little different than on the saturday. All the racers held skiers left, some going very close to the flags marking the track. The first run was seeing Simone Origone and Simon Billy on almost identical 210 km/h speeds. Simon who had a devastating crash less than a year ago, was working hard to get his confidence back. The sunday race had a much better feeling than saturday, however not an easy run. Ivan Origone in full attack just sligthly behind in 209 km/h.

12:30 Final Run (Traverse)

Some issues with the second lift made half of the field wait on the traverse, with the other half in the lift queue. At the same time, the sun came back, so in all the wait was for the better!

The start being higher made it possible to go even faster, but with the wind and the tight left side track most skiers chose some had to turn or stabilize with the arms. Manuel Kramer kept his run very calm and improved from 207.61 km/h to 215.69 km/h winning the second race. "The first races are always a test for everybody". Manuel seemed to nail it, being better the faster it got. Team mate Klaus Schrottshammer pulled no punches and finished just half a km/h behind Manuel. The Italian brothers Simone and Ivan Origone finished 3'rd and 4'th, both in 213 km/h. Also sharing 213 km/h was Simon Billy finishing 5'th.

Racing style brethren Philippe May and Jukka Viitasari with tight stances and super flat skis placed 6'th and 7'th at 210 km/h. Philippe had made a mistake on the first run and went into the 2'nd run with a little too much determination, skiing too stiff for his liking. Still very happy regarding the lack of training this winter. Jukka had an ok final but not perfect. His leg was hurting from Saturday when he almost crashed in the timing area.

Juan Carlos Sanchez from Spain knew he had to improve from the first run when he was 16'th. He had made a 6'th place run during the saturday and knew what he needed to do to ski faster. Starting second last he could watch the lines of everyone. Mind set and everything went perfect in his run finishing 8'th with a speed of 209.3 km/h.
Italian racer Antonio Renaldo finished 9'th. A huge improvement from saturdays 21'th, and more in line with his capacity. 

Michal Bekes finishing 10'th set a new Slovak record at 207.373 km/h. Michal says he has lot to improve, but is very happy with the record and loved every run. Czech racer Petr Urban climbed to 11'th, starting to find his pace in S1. Swedish newcomer Jonatan Brunnberg again beat all the Swedes, setting a new personal record at 207.016 km/h.

Jan Farrell in 13'th had problems with the wind turning twice but still managed 206,9 km/h. Bastien Montes final run was perfect for 70% of the track. Then the wind from the side took him, needing to parry with his arms, then again even worse in the timing and passed through the finish line standing up. He finished at 14'th place.

Denis Sultan returning from a one year break from Speed Skiing finished 15'th. Emilio Giacomelli had problems keeping the skis flat and opened up twice. Still he managed to join the 200 club and set a respectable 204.78 km/h run. Swedish Mats Abrahamsson run started good and found his position. Halfway down he dropped his hands and started scooping air loosing a lot of speed. He ended up at 204 km/h. Very nice track but he's not happy with his speed. "The lack of high speed training shows too much." Spanish Ricardo Aarraga was not satisfied with his result either, also finishing at 204 km/h. He had issues with the calf after straining a muscle on the way to the track, but doesn't think it affected the final outcome in the end. Now it's time to analyze how to get back where I should be, says Ricardo.

New Zealand's Chris Gebbie was happy to crack 200 km/h again, but says there is lots of work to do. Especially in the bumpy sections and holding the tuck tight. Lars Beskow who just switched from S2 (but who raced S1 in 2006-2007), went a little too close to the flags and had to edge to avoid them. Joost Vandendries testing a new helmet concept had a smooth and steady semi final, albeit a little high position. In the final run felt he was all over the place, struggling with the tuck, but still set a personal record at 198,675 km/h. Marc Amann from Germany who has been a very stable S2 racer had problems during saturday, but the final on sunday brought a better feeling in the skis. He still has adjustments to make to his material and equipment in order to get a better and deeper tuck.

In the womens race, Valentina Greggio ran an almost perfect run at 211.516 km/h. French racer Celia Martinez was getting used to the new helmet, saying that it feels easier to get into a better position. Compared to the race the day before, she says she was moving all over the place, and despite slightly lower speed she still managed to keep second place. Swedish racer Britta Backlund instead raised her top speed, closing the gap to Celia and joined the 200 club with 200.445 km/h.

Clea Martinez made a very successful debut in S1 with a 198.456 km/h and finished 4'th just before Swedish Hanna Matslofva and Seraina Murk.

Results for the race 

Link: /Results/2018/S1/World-Cup-Race-2-Vars

The racers are leaving Vars, with a great track, close racing and sunshine in their minds.
Next up Salla in northern Finland.

Thank you Philippe Billy, Noel Ribet, Marco Cozzi, Snow Cat operators, Vars Ski Club, Ski patrol and everybody involved in the race!