GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) _ Luc Alphand of France mastered the tough Kandahar course today and scored his third World Cup downhill victory of the season.

Alphand made few mistakes on a track made soft by a sudden, sharp rise in the temperature.

He was timed in one minute, 52.61 seconds and won comfortably over Canadian Brian Stemmle, who had the best finish of his career.

Stemmle was timed in 1:52.95 on the 3,455-meter-long course.

The victory was the sixth of Alphand's World Cup career and widened his lead in the downhill standings.

He also won the first two downhills of the season, in Vail, Colo., Dec. 1 and in Val d'Isere, France, one week later.

Lasse Kjuss of Norway, racing his first downhill since his spill during practice in three weeks ago, was not in the top 10 finishers but retained his overall World Cup lead.

Peter Runggaldier of Italy was third in 1:52.96, just one-hundredth of a second behind Stemmle, and another Italian, Kristian Ghedina, was fourth in 1:53.59.

The race replaced the downhill in Sestriere, Italy, which had to be called off because of bad conditions on the course.

Another downhill is scheduled Saturday, with a Super-G on Sunday.