Kitzbuehel, Austria Jan. 18, 2002 (USSA)--World Cup leader Stephan Eberharter of Austria gave the homeland crowd plenty to cheer about Friday, capturing the super G to open Hahnenkamm Weekend in an unofficial 1:18.91. Alessandro Fattori of Italy was second in 1:19.32 with Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) nailing the bottom of the run to finish fourth.
A stunning finish by Thomas Vonn (Newburgh, NY) was wiped out on a disqualification. Vonn had the 13th fastest time, but was disqualified when his binding stand height measured just over the allowable maximum of 55mm. Several layers of duct tape on part of the top of the binding to "cant" or adjust his stance on the binding, wouldn't fit in the measuring equipment at the finish.
"I'm disappointed because I wanted to be on the podium," said Rahlves, who was fourth in the Kitzbuehel super G a year ago, too. "It was really hard to keep the line. I was really feeling it today. I thought I made some good turns, but it wasn't good enough."
Rahlves, who was 19th fastest in the first intermediate, was very strong on the bottom of the tough, tough super G down the famed Streif.
The world super G champ will carry some strong motivation from Friday's race into Saturday's downhil. "Kitzbuehel is the greatest," said Rahlves. "Just look at the people and the excitement. I definitely have a good feeling inside--it's burning in my belly! I'm looking forward to coming down the Streif in the downhill tomorrow. Bring it on."
While he matched his super G finish of a year ago in Friday's race, Rahlves is hoping to best his third place in the downhill a year ago. He will go in the lucky 13 position on Saturday.