By Michael Pavitt

Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis defended their two-man bobsleigh world title ©FIBTGermany's Francesco Friedrich joined forces with Thorsten Margis to successfully defend his two-man bobsleigh title at the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation World Championships in front of a home crowd in Winterberg.

Friedrich became the youngest two-man bobsleigh world champion when he won the title with Jannis Bäcker two years ago in St Moritz at the age of 22.

This was his second major title of the year, having already won the European Championships. 

Alongside his brakeman, Friedrich looked on course to defend the title at the halfway mark of the event on Friday (February 27), leading the standings with a combined time of 1min 52.55sec from their opening two runs.

They maintained their excellent form during today's final runs, with their third in 55.23sec the fastest effort of the competition.

They concluded the event with a 55.52, to end event with a combined total of 3:43.30.

The two men were dominant throughout, posting the fastest times on every run to see off the challenge of the newly crowned World Cup winners Oskars Melbārdis and Daumants Drieskens of Latvia, who took silver with an overall time of 3:44.36.

"Sensational, the crowd was huge," said Friedrich after his victory.

"Thanks to the whole team, to my family, friends and fans.

"You guys are the best."

Germany's Johannes Lochner and Joshua Bluhm rounded off the medal positions as their time of 3:44.36 was enough to take bronze, ahead of Switzerland's Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann, who finished on 3:44.52.

Germany dominated the mixed team event taking gold and silver ©FIBTGermany dominated the mixed team event taking gold and silver ©FIBT

Friedrich's golden day continued as he added mixed team gold to his two-man title.

His squad, which included Axel Jungk, Cathleen Martini, Lisette Thöne, Tina Hermann and Martin Grothkopp, posted a winning time of 3:48.83 from their four runs, which included individual men's and a women's skeleton events, as well as a two-woman and a two man bobsleigh runs.

The success continued for Germany as their second mixed team took silver, underlining their strength in depth in the event.

Russia's team, led by Alexander Tretiakov, earned their first mixed team World Championship medal with bronze.

Winterberg will next host skeleton events beginning on Thursday (March 5), while the four-man competitions are also scheduled for next week.

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