In his first competition after his injury break, Richard Freitag presented himself in a very strong shape and won the qualification in Lillehammer ahead of Kamil Stoch and Karl Geiger.
The 22-year-old German showed a jump on 98.5 m on the normal hill and took the win with 126.1 points. With 100 m, Kamil Stoch of Poland, posted a longer jump than Freitag, but he came in second only 0.2 points behind the winner. Karl Geiger was third with 99.5 m and 123.7 points. With Severin Freund as fourth, another German athlete was among the best in this round.
The best of the Japanese team, Daiki Ito, was fifth, followed by young Russian Alexey Romashov as sixth. With Jan Ziobro of Poland and Swiss Gregor Deschwanden two other young athletes shared the seventh place. Only 0.1 points behind them, veteran Noriaki Kasai came in on a good ninth place.
The by far best jumper of the Norwegian hosts in this qualification was Anders Bardal as eleventh. Best Austrian was Youngster Stefan Kraft as 14th, the veterans Wolfgang Loitzl and Andreas Kofler qualified for the competition as 34th and 35th, but still have plenty of room for improvement.
The weekend in Lillehammer started with a success for the Swiss team. Besides Deschwanden, also Marco Grigoli (28th) and Pascal Egloff (38th) could qualify and so all Swiss athletes will be in Saturday's competition at the Lysgardsbakken.
Well known jumpers like Jan Matura, Janne Happonen, Dimitry Vassiliev, Manuel Fettner and Anders Jacobsen, in his first competition since he tore his ACL last March, failed to make the cut for the competition on Saturday.
The longest jump of the pre-qualified athletes was shown by Taku Takeuchi of Japan with 100.5 m, followed by Swiss Simon Ammann (99.5 m), Maciej Kot (98.5 m) of Poland and Germany's Andreas Wellinger (98 m).