I was a bit nervous because it was the first time ever I started No. 1," Vonn said. "Especially in GS, it's only the third race that I am in the top seven, so it's pretty exciting.
LIENZ, Austria — Anna Fenninger of Austria skied a nearly flawless second run Wednesday to capture a giant slalom for her first World Cup victory, while Lindsey Vonn extended her lead in the overall standings.
The 22-year-old Fenninger was 0.23 seconds off the lead in sixth place after the opening leg. She used a superb second run to finish in a combined time of 2 minutes, 16.08 seconds.
Federica Brignone of Italy was 0.20 seconds behind, and Tessa Worley of France was third. Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, who led after the first run, finished fourth and Vonn was fifth.
"I can't believe it myself," Fenninger said. "It's my first win ever. I always used to be good at speed events and now I win in GS. I hoped to compete for the top five and never thought of winning."
Fenninger, who won the super-combined title at the world championships in February, was helped by a massive error by Rebensburg. The Olympic giant slalom champion from Germany misjudged a turn shortly before the finish of the second run.
"I made a mistake in the middle part and again near the finish," Rebensburg said. "But I must say, Anna raced really great."
Vonn, who won the season-opening GS in October, boosted her overall World Cup lead. She has 599 points, 231 more than Fenninger, who moved into second place.
Defending overall champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who finished 10th for her best GS result of the season, is sixth with 297 points.
Vonn, who traveled to New York for an appearance on David Letterman's TV show last week, was the first skier down the course for the first time in her World Cup career.
"I was a bit nervous because it was the first time ever I started No. 1," Vonn said. "Especially in GS, it's only the third race that I am in the top seven, so it's pretty exciting."
For Fenninger, winning her first World Cup race was as unexpected as her world title last winter.
"Actually, I feel the strongest in super-G at the moment," she said. "I would have settled for any podium finish today. To be on the podium in front of a cheering home crowd, that's the best feeling you can get as an athlete."
Fenninger hopes her first win will take the pressure off.
"Many people expected me to win a World Cup race, so maybe I pushed too hard for a some time," she said. "Now I feel I have found the right balance ... I made some minor mistakes today, but I did not let them put me off."
Julia Mancuso, who skipped last week's slalom in nearby Flachau to spend time with family in California, had a slow second run and dropped from fifth to 17th.
Both runs took place under a clear blue sky and sunshine. Despite the relative warm weather, the artificial snow held up well.
"The course is awesome, the snow is perfect, they've done a really good job," Vonn said. "It's not easy. You see there is no snow in the area, but they made the race hill perfect."
The slalom is Thursday on the Hochstein course.