Walther/Franke second in World Championships standing ahead of Lochner/Weber
Altenberg (RWH) At the mid-way point of the World Championships in Altenberg, the defending title holder Francesco Friedrich (GER) is on his way to his sixth successive title in the 2-man bobsleigh. Following two of the four runs at the 2020 BMW IBSF World Championships, Friedrich and his brakeman Thorsten Margis already lead by almost a whole second. There are 0.94 seconds between Friedrich/Margis and their team-mate Nico Walther with Eric Franke (GER). Johannes Lochner/Christopher Weber (GER, 1.09 seconds back) are in third, followed by the Junior World Champions Richard Oelsner/Malte Schwenzfeier (GER).
The European Champions Oskars Kibermanis/Matiss Miknis of Latvia fell back into fifth place during the second of four heats. The U23 World Champions Mihai Tentea/Ciprian Darozi of Romania will start the second day of World Championship action in sixth place overall.
Heat one saw the Olympic Champions Friedrich/Margis set a new record for the track. At 54.00 seconds, they were almost half a second faster than the old record, which Friedrich set in January 2017 with the brake athlete Martin Grothkopp.
Made up of runs three and four, the World Championship finals will take place at 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. local time on Sunday, 23 February. ©RWH2020
Photos: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis
Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2018 Olympic Champion, five-time World Champion)
“There were a few small mistakes in run one, but run two was really good. The weather today is also more suited to our setup. The track record was our goal. It’s a shame that we didn’t quite manage to stay under 54 seconds today.
Nico Walther (GER, third in the 2019 World Championships and overall World Cup)
“I’m super happy. It was clear to me from the get-go that Franz is racing in a whole other league. Behind that, we’re in a very good position. In heat one, we were at a slight disadvantage starting so far back but we were able to balance that out in heat two as you can see. Tomorrow is a new day and there is still a lot to lose. We can’t relax just yet.”
Johannes Lochner (GER, silver at the 2019 European Championships)
“We are really happy. It was our goal to fight our way up into striking distance of around fifth place or so after having such a high starting number. On the second run, we significantly improved our start again, and that was important. The crowds are incredible, which makes it so much fun. I am ten times more motivated; even while you're sliding, you can feel just how great the atmosphere is. That is what life as an athlete is all about.”