The FIL World Cup in natural track luge came to an end on Sunday with the finale in Winterleiten (AUT). The Azzurri put on a show of strength at the end of the 2023/2024 season.

Winterleiten 2024

(from left): Patrick Pigneter (ITA), Evelin Lanthaler (ITA), Matthias Lambacher/Peter Lambacher (ITA)

Winterleiten (FIL/18.02.2024) The 940-metre-long natural luge track in Styria was not known as the Italians' "favourite track" in the past, but this verdict is likely to change fundamentally now: Overall World Cup winner Patrick Pigneter (ITA) showed a brilliant race to catch up in the men's singles, advancing from fourth place after the first run to victory. In 2:06.98 minutes he celebrated his fourth win of the season, his 54th World Cup victory in total. Second place for Saturday's winner Fabian Brunner (ITA/+0.03 seconds), ahead of Florian Clara (ITA+0.17). The overall winner of the Junior World Cup, Alex Oberhofer (ITA), was surprisingly in the lead after the first run and finishing fourth 0.90 seconds behind. "I was a bit sore after the first run, then I wanted to show myself and the others once again. The fact that I won with a lead of 0.03 seconds is probably luck," said Pigneter, who has already won the overall World Cup in the single-seater twelve times.

In the women's singles, Evelin Lanthaler (ITA) was once again in a class of her own with a total time of 2:07.10 minutes. The reigning World and European Champion once again won all World Cup races this season, celebrating her 51st World Cup victory in total. "I'm still fully motivated, I really enjoy luge," said Lanthaler, explaining the secret of her success. Second place for Riccarda Ruetz (AUT/+1.72 seconds), Tina Unterberger (AUT/+2.09) finished third.

Winterleiten 2024

(from left): Riccarda Ruetz (AUT), Evelin Lanthaler (ITA) and Tina Unterberger (AUT)

Winterleiten 2024

With their fifth win of the season, Matthias Lambacher/Peter Lambacher (ITA) also grabed victory in the overall doubles' standings in 1:06.65 minutes. Reigning European champions Maximilian Pichler/Nico Edlinger (AUT/+0.82 seconds) finished second in both the finale and the overall standings, ahead of Peter Neupauer/Dominik Neupauer (SVK/+2.00). "It wasn't an easy season for us, we lacked consistency. Winning the overall worldcup was our big goal, it's just nice," said Peter Lambacher, who formed a team with his brother Matthias for the first time.

There was also no way around Italy in the team classification, with the Azzurri scoring 5327 points durning the season, followed by Austria (3497) and Germany (1435).

Andreas Castiglioni (FIL Sports Director Natural Track) takes a positive view of the 2023/2024 season: "We can look back on a season with many firsts, with the first World Cup race on the new natural luge track in Kühtai and we had three new World Cup winners with Daniel Gruber in Laas, Fabian Brunner and Tobias Paur/Andreas Hofer in Winterleiten. I am particularly pleased that the local organisers of the World Cups have now reached a very, very high level and are putting on first-class events.

Top 3 men’s singles, finale Winterleiten
1st Patrick Pigneter (ITA), 2.06,98 minutes
2nd Fabian Brunner (ITA), +0.03 seconds
3rd Florian Clara (ITA), +0.17

Top 3 women’s singles, finale Winterleiten
1st Evelin Lanthaler (ITA), 2.07,10 minutes
2nd Riccarda Ruetz (AUT), +1.72 seconds
3rd Tina Unterberger (AUT), +2.09

Top 3 doubles, finale Winterleiten
1st Matthias Lambacher/Peter Lambacher (ITA), 1.06,65 minutes
2nd Maximilian Pichler/Nico Edlinger (AUT), +0.82 seconds
3rd Peter Neupauer/Dominik Neupauer (SVK), +2.00

Top 3 overall ranking, men’s singles
1st Patrick Pigneter (ITA) 655 points
2nd Fabian Brunner (ITA) 479
3. Florian Clara (ITA) 469

Top 3 overall ranking, women’s singles
1. Evelin Lanthaler (ITA) 700 points
2nd Riccarda Ruetz (AUT) 570
3. Tina Unterberger (AUT) 417

Top 3 overall ranking, doubles
1st Matthias Lambacher/Peter Lambacher (ITA) 655 points
2nd Maximilian Pichler/Nico Edlinger (AUT) 570
3. Tobias Paur/Andreas Hofer (ITA) 470