Wachter completed two runs through weather ranging from balmy sunshine to blizzard in 1min 8.88sec, but to win the combined, the Austrian skier will have to excel in the downhill section against Miriam Vogt, of Germany.
Vogt, one of the world's best downhillers, was second in the slalom, only .02 seconds behind Wachter. Form indicates that Vogt has the advantage, but Wachter, the leader in the World Cup overall standings, has had top 10 placings in downhill and on a relatively flat course like Mount Kotakakura could well give Vogt a run for the gold.
Chantal Bournissen, Switzerland's defending world combined champion, skied herself out of contention, finishing six seconds off the pace.
The bronze-medal winner is more difficult to predict, but the Austrian downhiller, Ulrike Maier, eighth yesterday, has the speed.
Britian's racers had differing results. Claire de Pourtales was 11th in 1:10.95, but Emma Carrick-Anderson suffered a first-leg disqualification.
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