WINTERBERG, Germany (AP) — Francesco Friedrich of Germany has clinched the World Cup four-man overall season championship with one race remaining, after getting a relatively easy win on Sunday.
It was Friedrich’s 14th consecutive international victory in four-man competition, and the fourth consecutive season in which he’s won the World Cup four-man overall crown. Wins in World Cup bobsled events are worth 225 points; Friedrich has a 229-point lead over Canada’s Justin Kripps going into next weekend’s World Cup season finale.
Brad Hall drove to second place for Britain, and Hunter Church of the U.S. matched the best finish of his World Cup four-man career by placing third.
Friedrich and his team of Alexander Schueller, Candy Bauer and Thorsten Margis had the best time in both heats Sunday, finishing in a combined 1 minute, 49.08 seconds. Hall and Nick Gleeson, Taylor Lawrence and Greg Cackett were second in 1:49.50.
Church and his team of Josh Williamson, Charlie Volker and Kris Horn were fifth after the first heat. But they had the best start of any team in the second run, using that momentum to climb two spots and finish third in 1:49.54.
Church’s second-run time was 54.78 seconds, just one-tenth of a second behind Friedrich’s time. That’s the closest Church has even been to Friedrich in a four-man event, spanning 41 heats in World Cup and world championships competition.
His other World Cup four-man medal was at Igls, Austria two years ago, also a bronze.
“It was really cool to medal in Igls, but to medal on a German track, which we historically haven’t had success on, is unreal,” Church said.
Frank Del Duca and his crew of Carlo Valdes, Kyle Wilcox and Hakeem Abdul Saboor were 11th for the U.S. — capping a strong weekend for Del Duca, who was promoted to the World Cup level over the holiday break.
Germany took gold and silver in a women’s race Sunday, with the team of Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi holding off Kim Kalicki and Leonie Fiebig.
Nolte finished in 1:57.15. Kalicki’s time was 1:57.28 and the U.S. grabbed third, with the team of Kaillie Humphries and Sylvia Hoffman finishing in 1:57.30.
Elana Meyers Taylor and Kaysha Love were fourth for the U.S. in 1:57.55.
The World Cup seasons for bobsled and skeleton conclude this coming weekend in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The U.S. is expected to announce its Olympic teams shortly after competition there ends.