Triple Olympic gold medallists Pavol and Peter Hochschorner qualified fastest in the men’s C2 event as action continued today at the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Wildwater World Championships in La Seu in Spain.
The Slovakian twin brothers clocked a time of 57.78sec to finish 0.45 seconds ahead of France's reigning world champions Stéphane Santamaria and Quentin Dazeur.
Another French pairing, Louis Lapointe and Tony Debray, were 0.95 seconds behind in third place.
The Hochschorner siblings won C2 Olympic gold medals at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, and spoke of how it was nice to be back in the same boat at a major international event.
"It was a good run for us because we had made some big mistakes during training, so this was our first good run this week," Pavol Hochschorner said.
"It’s been a long time since we have sat together in a whitewater boat, so it’s been very interesting.
"It’s been hard changing a slalom boat for this one.
"This was a good run.
"If we can make another one like this one, it will be good in the final."
The field also included Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists, Slovakian cousins Ladislav and Peter Škantár.
They were unable to progress to the final after finishing 3.81 seconds off the pace in ninth place.
In the women’s C2, France’s Elsa Gaubert and Margot Béziat qualified quickest in 1:05.68.
The Czech pairing of Marie Nemcova and Tereza Kneblova finished second in 1:06.99, while Italians Marlene Ricciardi and Cecilia Panato came third in 1:07.73.
"It was a good run, but it was only qualification so tomorrow it is the big race," Gaubert said.
"We are very motivated and will give the best we can, so we will see."
Béziat added: "We only paddled together for the first time last year, and this year we have only trained together two times.
"The course is really different for C2 than C1 – it’s a new experience but we really enjoy doing this together."
The first medals of the ICF Wildwater World Championships are due to be contested tomorrow.