Updated: Friday, 07 February 2014 18:40 | By Agence France-Presse

Switzerland's Suter fastest in Sochi downhill training

Switzerland's Fabienne Suter clocked the fastest time in the women's second downhill training run Friday, with favourites from Austria and Liechtenstein hot on her heels.


Switzerland's Suter fastest in Sochi downhill training

Switzerland's Fabienne Suter competes during a second training of the Women World Cup Downhill in Val d’Isère, French Alps on December 19, 2013 - by Franck Fife

The 29-year-old raced the 2.7-kilometre Rosa Khutor course in 1min 42.70sec. Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather was second, 0.11sec behind, with Austria's Anna Fenninger in third, at 0.23sec. 

For Suter, Friday's result was doubly important as it also acted as an internal qualifying race for the Swiss team. 

"It's a difficult course. You have to be very present. You have to be good on the ski, attack and control as well as you can," she said after the training run, which she was also the first to start. 

"It's good to win today, but more important for me was to make the qualification for the Swiss team."

2011 super combined world champion Fenninger, top in Thursday's training, had been in the lead through every split time but took a wrong turn at a low gate that was being reset, which caused her to lose precious time. 

US skier Julia Mancuso, defending downhill silver-medallist from Vancouver, placed 10th but was happy with her imperfect run. 

"Training is always trying to push the line somewhere and to see if you can get away with it," she said. 

"I personally don't like to be too perfect when we have so many training runs because then you just kind of get in your head 'how can I do it that perfect again?'" 

"I like to feel my way down the course and know that I can make improvements in certain areas and really focus mentally on that," said the triple Olympic medallist. 

Weirather was also happy with her performance, having finished fourth on Thursday.

"Today was really good. I improved a lot from yesterday and it was fun," she said.

The daughter of Hanni Wenzel, double Olympic champion in Lake Placid 1980, she said she will not compete in the first women's race on Monday -- the super combined -- but wait until the downhill in mid-week.

"So it's important not to go overboard now but stay calm and be ready on Wednesday."

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the current leader in downhill and overall World Cup rankings, dropped to 11th from sixth place in the first training. 

"It was actually OK until the run-in to the finish area where I just came to a halt.

"There are difficult turns there. The last few gates take you off course so you lose a lot of speed due to the course set.

"But I hope I can get it right in Sunday's training," she added. 

Monday's super combined consists of a downhill run in the morning, followed by a slalom in the afternoon. 

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