CERVINIA, Italy -- East German double Olympic champions Wolfgang Hoppe and brakeman Dieter Schauerhammer nailed down their second straight two-man bobsled title Sunday with a pair of record-setting runs at the World Championships.
The unbeatable pair took the East Germany I sled to a winning aggregate time of 4:18.72 minutes over four runs on two days of competition at Cervinia's 1.5 kilometer Lac Bleu course, which drops 142 meters.
Hoppe and Schauerhammer, who won the two-man and four-man bobsled gold medals at the Sarajevo Olympics, proved with their convincing victory over the rival Soviets that they have no equals in the sport.
East Germany II, driven by Detlef Richter with brakeman Steffen Grummt, finished second in 4:19.76, more than a second behind.
Richter and Grummt held the provisional lead after starting eighth on the decisive fourth run Sunday, but it was just a matter of time before they were shoved into second by their victorious teammates.
Soviet Union I placed a distant third in 4:22:37 almost four seconds slower than the winners.
Fourth was Switzerland II (4:22.53), trailed by sister sled Switzerland I in 4.22.72.
The best American finish was a 13th by driver Jeff Jost -- fourth in four-man at Sarajevo -- in 4:26.42, almost eight seconds off the pace.
Canadian driver David Leuty, 15th with brakeman Harvey Viteychuk, said he'd expected a better result.
'We had some good starts Saturday and the course was running for us, but not today,' Leuty said.
Hoppe and Schauerhammer jumped out of their blue sled, the design of which is one of bobsledding's best kept secrets -- to hug each other and accept congratulations from rivals gathered in the runout area past the finish line.
The winners clocked runs Sunday of 1:04.39 and 1:04.11, stretching the new Lac Bleu course record of 1:04.64 they set officially during competition Saturday.
Swiss veteran Erich Scharer, the driver of fourth placed Switzerland II, said after the race he had most likely competed in his last World Championships.
'I'm rather disappointed,' Scharer said. 'We just missed the bronze medal by 16-100ths of a second. No one can beat the East Germans, they're invincible. Their sleds, their teamwork, it's all just too much.'
Four-man practice at the two-week long championiships begins Monday, with the finals scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.