French pair trail Bobrova/Soloviev
Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat trail their main challengers Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev by 0.17 after the short dance at the European Figure Skating Championships in Sheffield.
Russians Bobrova and Soloviev, who won silver at last year's Europeans in Bern, wowed the judges with their performance as they scored 65.06.
"The score is just a little lower than our season's best and is much higher than at the Grand Prix final and the Rostelecom Cup, so we are pleased with it," Bobrova said.
Defending champions Pechalat and Bourzat, whose score received whistles from fans expecting more, are just behind going into Friday’s free dance.
Russian pair Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko were third with 61.34 ahead of Britain’s Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland.
Coomes and Buckland, who are competing at just their third European Championships together having finished 16th in 2010 and improved two places to 14th last year in Switzerland, recorded a score of 59.78 at the Motorpoint Arena.
However it is also tight below Coomes and Buckland with Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniunas fifth with 59.66 and Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte sixth with 59.62 ahead of Friday’s free dance.
Russians Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov are not too far away either placing seventh with 59.49 while Coomes and Buckland’s British team-mates Louise Walden and Owen Edwards are 14th.
1. Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (Russia) 65.06
2. Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (France) 64.89
3. Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko (Russia) 61.34
4. Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland (Britain) 59.78
5. Isabella Tobias/Deividas Stagniunas (Lithuania) 59.66
6. Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (Italy) 59.62
7. Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov (Russia) 59.49
8. Pernelle Carron/Lloyd Jones (France) 57.40
9. Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi (Germany) 56.79
10. Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (Italy) 52.45
11. Julia Zlobina/Alexei Sitnikov (Azerbaijan) 49.66
12. Sara Hurtado/Adria Diaz (Spain) 49.35
13. Tanja Kolbe/Stefano Caruso (Germany) 49.07
14. Louise Walden/Owen Edwards (Britain) 48.36
15. Lucie Mysliveckova/Neil Brown (Czech Republic) 47.47
16. Siobhan Heekin-Canedy/Dmitri Dun (Ukraine) 46.71
17. Gabriela Kubova/Dmitri Kiselev (Czech Republic) 45.88
18. Zsuzsanna Nagy/Mate Fejes (Hungary) 44.99
19. Irina Shtork/Taavi Rand (Estonia) 44.97
20. Nadezhda Frolenkova/Mikhail Kasalo (Ukraine) 42.60