Johannes Ludwig is on course for gold at half-time in the Olympic luge competition, reaching for the greatest triumph of his career.
The overall World Cup winner from Oberhof showed two strong rides in the Yanqing Sliding Center and has been fighting a very close duel with Wolfgang Kindl so far: The former world champion from Austria is only 39 thousandths of a second behind. Third in the provisional classification is Dominik Fischnaller from Italy, already three tenths behind.
Record world champion Felix Loch (Berchtesgaden) only came in fourth and is also a long way behind Ludwig with 0.382 seconds, but the podium is only 78 thousandths away. The third German starter Max Langenhan (Friedrichroda) has his sights set on a top ten finish in seventh (+0.641).
After the final heats three and four on Sunday (from 12:30 p.m. CET/7:30 p.m. ET) the first luge medals will be awarded in China.
Ludwig can maintain the level
While Ludwig set a start (2.445) and track record (57.063) in the first round, Loch caught up early on. In addition, the Olympic champion from Vancouver and Sochi touched the barriers in the first run after a driving error in the lower section of the course and lost more valuable time.
In the second round, Ludwig maintained the high level with slight smears, but Kindl was now a little stronger and worked his way closer. Loch improved and moved up one position, and Langenhan also made up positions in the second round.
Ludwig, third at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, has had the best season of his career so far this World Cup winter with five victories, while Loch “only” celebrated one win in the Sigulda sprint race in January. In training, the German pilots had shown with good performances that they can cope well with the 1583 m long toboggan run in the world.