OBDACH-WINTERLEITEN. On Sunday, February 11th 2018, the 27th FIL European Championships on Luge on Natural Track in Obdach-Winterleiten (AUT) came to an end. Since the winners of the doubles’ event had been determined on the day before, it was now time for the finals of the women’s and the men’s event as well as for the team competition.
At the women’s event, Evelin Lanthaler (ITA) was able to defend her title: The Italian finished with a time of 2:27.74 minutes and therefore kept her competitors at bay. “I wanted to defend the title, and I succeeded. Now I’m over the moon,” Lanthaler beamed after the race. “My second run wasn’t as good as the first one, but I was able to maintain the lead. It’s not easy on this track, you need to focus and to go to the limit.” In the end, Lanthaler was 31 hundredths faster than runner-up Greta Pinggera (ITA), who had to acknowledge the good performance of her victorious teammate: “Evelin is nearly unbeatable here, so ranking second was the best I could do,” explained Pinggera, who had had some difficulties to adapt to the track in Obdach-Winterleiten. “The conditions of the track don’t really suit my driving style, especially in training I had problems. But both of my competition runs were quite good, therefore I’m satisfied with the outcome of the race.” More than satisfied was bronze medal winner Tina Unterberger (AUT), who had ranked only eight after the first competition run but eventually had managed to finish third. “In the second run, I wanted to go all in, and that worked out well. I may have made a few mistakes, but now I’m really happy that I was able to reach the podium,” said the Austrian, who came in more than two and half seconds behind Lanthaler.
At the men’s event, there has also been a victory of the title defender: With an overall time of 2:24.40 minutes, Thomas Kammerlander (AUT) won the gold medal. For obvious reasons, the Austrian was happy after the race: “It’s a great feeling to defend the title – especially at home in Austria, and in front of so many spectators,” said Kammerlander, who had to work hard for his triumph, as he admitted: “It was very difficult and a lot of work. The track doesn’t suit me, and I don’t feel very comfortable on it. But we managed to adapt to it, and that was the key to our success.” In the end, Kammerlander was 25 hundredths faster than runner-up Alex Gruber (ITA), who also pointed out that it has been a tough race: “It was a hard fight. I had some problems in training, and I made some mistakes in my competition runs, too. But all in all, I can be content with my performance,” said the silver medal winner, who had given Kammerlander a hard time until the very end. The bronze medal was awarded to Gruber’s teammate Patrick Pigneter, who had claimed gold at the doubles’ event on the day before along with his partner Florian Clara and now won his second medal of this European Championships. “Sure, I had hoped to stand on top of the podium. But Thomas and Alex were really strong, so I’m quite happy with the third rank”, said Pigneter, who came in 84 hundredths behind the victorious Austrian.
At the team competition, the Austrian squad with Thomas Kammerlander, Tina Unterberger and Rupert Brüggler/Tobias Angerer was victorious. The silver medal was awarded to the Italian team, consisting of Alex Gruber, Evelin Lanthaler and Patrick Pigneter/Florian Clara, while the Russian squad with Aleksandr Egorov, Daria Maleeva and Pavel Porshnev/Ivan Lazarev came in third.
The 27th FIL European Championships on Luge on Natural Track may be over, for the athletes, however, there is still a highlight to come: From February 15th to 17th 2018, the finals of the GRM Group Luge World Cup 2017/2018 take place in Umhausen (AUT), where the overall winners of the season will be determined.