PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Marcel Hirscher put himself in position for a second Pyeongchang Olympic gold, taking a strong lead into the second run of the men's giant slalom at Yongpyong Alpine Centre on Sunday.
Combined winner Hirscher's smooth and confident run of one minute, 8.27 seconds was 0.63 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger France's Alexis Pinturault.
Hirscher's run was even more impressive given that his team-mate Manuel Feller had crashed just before the favourite was due out of the gate.
Feller was one of three skiers in the first 10 runners not to complete the course with Italian Luca de Aliprandini suffered a bad fall and Switzerland's Justin Murisier also failing to finish.
Hirscher is the oustanding skier of his generation who has won the last six overall World Cup titles and is poised to claim a seventh this season. The Austrian is also the defending giant slalom world champion.
Norway's Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen was third quickest in the first run, 0.66 seconds behind Hirscher.
"That was pretty good I would say. It was a wild run but wild and fast. I knew I would have to put on a good run and go clean and go hard out of the start," Nestvold-Haugen said.
"(Hirscher's) been on a different level all year. I think everyone knows what they need to keep up with him but he's got good balance and he skis clean and has good tactics."
The second run is scheduled for 13:15 local (0415 GMT).
Editing by Greg Stutchbury