Johannes Lochner has successfully defended his European Championship title in the 4-man bobsleigh. At the fifth stop in the BMW IBSF World Cup in Innsbruck (AUT), Lochner and his squad – made up of Marc Rademacher, Joshua Bluhm and Christian Rasp – secured their third World Cup win of the season and thus also won the European Championship title.
After the race’s two heats, Lochner held a 0.15-second lead over Canada’s 4-man crew of Justin Kripps, Alexander Kopacz, Jesse Lumsden and Oluseyi Smith, who finished second in the World Cup. Francesco Friedrich (GER, 0.20 seconds back), who was racing with Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis, took the lead in the first heat, before falling back to third place. However, their result still secured them a silver medal in the European Championships, ahead of Oskars Melbardis/Daumants Dreiskens/Helvijs Lusis/Janis Strenga (LAT) who took bronze.
A triumphant Lochner couldn’t contain his excitement at the finish and praised his crew
“Of course, everything was wide open after the first heat. We made a few mistakes on the track in the first run and weren’t quite as fast at the start. I am super proud of the boys for really taking things up another gear in the second heat. Now we are pretty far ahead and I am really pleased!”
Justin Kripps continues his great run of form and the softly spoken Canadian was philosophical “I am happy that we were able to stay near the front. The guys pushed really well but I made a few mistakes on the track.”
Lochner of Germany in third place has a long term view of the season “We need to take a close look at what went wrong on the second run. If I could write a wish list, one of my wishes would be for things to carry on as they are now and, above all, that we all stay fit and healthy.”
Great Britain had two crews in action Bradley Hall with his crew of Nick Gleeson, Andrew Matthews and Gregg Cackett came 13th with Lamin Deen and his crew of Ben Simons, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon were equal 16th with Canada III.
In the overall standings for the 2017/2018 BMW IBSF World Cup, Johannes Lochner (GER, 1051 points) has now further extended his lead. Nico Walther (GER, 971 points), fifth in Innsbruck, has held onto second place in the 4-man event, just ahead of Justin Kripps (CAN, 964).
RacerReady will be reporting the results and views from the world cup races immediately the action finishes.
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