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Photo: Eugen Eslage
Benjamin Maier surprises with silver, Oskars Melbardis wins bronze

St Moritz (RWH) The silver-medalled team had the greatest cause for celebration in St Moritz today. At the BMW IBSF World Cup, which doubled as the 2016 European Championships for the athletes from Europe, the four-man bobsledders Benjamin Maier, Marco Rangl, Markus Sammer and Danut Moldovan of Austria raced to a surprise World Cup second on the Olympia Bob Run St Moritz-Celerina and took silver in the European Championships at the same time. This gave Austria, which hosts the BMW IBSF World Championships 2016 starting next week, its first medal in this format since 1999, when Wolfgang Stampfer took European Championship bronze – also in St Moritz. Pilot Hubert Schösser had won silver the year before in Igls (AUT).
Benjamin Maier, who was in fifth place after the first heat, notched up the best time of all the athletes in the second run and finished the race only 0.18 seconds behind World Champion and defending European Champion Maximilian Arndt of Germany and his crew of Kevin Korona, Martin Putze and Ben Heber. It was Arndt’s third European Championship title after his victories in 2012 and 2013.
Third place in both the World Cup and the European Championships went to Oskars Melbardis, Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga from Latvia, who were 0.27 seconds behind the leader.
In the second run, Rico Peter, Simon Friedli, Thomas Amrhein and Fabio Badraun of Switzerland shot up from fourteenth to end seventh on their home course in St Moritz.
With just one race to go in the World Cup series, Maximilian Arndt has extended his lead on fellow German Francesco Friedrich to 1490 points. Friedrich, who came fourth in St Moritz, now has 1370 points. Rico Peter (SUI) is still in third at 1336. The final race in the BMW IBSF World Cup 2015/2016 will be held in Königssee (GER) at the end of February after the BMW IBSF World Championships 2016.
Complete results lists showing all race times, overall times and the latest World Cup standings can be found at ibfs.org, via Twitter (@IBSFsliding), on the official IBSF page, and on the IBSF Facebook group. ©RWH2015-2016

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