ST. MORITZ, Switzerland -- Ralph Pichler of Switzerland overtook compatriot Hans Hiltebrand on the fourth and final heat of the World Two-Man Bobsled Championships Sunday to win the title for the second time.
Pichler, who remarked that 'justice has triumphed,' posted an aggregate time of 4 minutes, 33.45 seconds.
Hiltebrand, the leader in the field of 36 after the second and third heats, fell back to a second place tie with East Germany's defending champion Wolfgang Hoppe, .36 seconds behind Pichler.
Pichler's powerful surge ended Hoppe's hopes of winning the crown four times in succession.
Detlef Richter, the East German who appeared to secure third place after Saturday's first two heats, withdrew Sunday due to a foot injury.
The 32-year-old Pichler and his brakeman Celest Poltera registered a seasonal best time of 1:07.77. Hiltebrand, with brakeman Andre Kiser, took over first place by winning the second heat and Hoppe took the third with his long-time friend Dietmar Schauerhammer in the backseat.
Pichler and Poltera then came through in the final heat, clocking 1:08.29 on a slower track due to snowfall.
'Justice has triumphed, after all,' Pichler said, referring to the advantage the 42-year-old Hiltebrand had over the competition in Saturday's second run as he was among the few who were not slowed by snowfall.
'I just blew it in the fourth,' said Hiltebrand, himself a two-time former world champion. 'I did not get proper hold of the steering ropes right after the start, which caused an early bump and made me nervous. Farther down, I touched the wall a couple of times.'
Janis Kipurs of the Soviet Union placed fourth, 1.40 seconds behind the winner. Anton Fischer of West Germany was fifth and Nick Phipps sixth, the best showing for a British crew for the past 20 years.
'I did not expect to win anymore, because going into the final heat, Hans (Hiltebrand) had an edge of .24 seconds, and he is known to make very few mistakes,' Pichler said.
Hiltebrand was not too disappointed with his placing.
'I'm quite happy with any medal, I would have been satisfied with bronze,' he said. 'I started last in the final heat, it was a long wait and the track became slower. I knew I had to put in a perfect run if I wanted to keep my lead, and that made me nervous.'
The best North American sled was piloted by Canada's Greg Haydenluck, who finished 12th.
'I started out with two real bad runs, but today I did better,' Haydenluck said. 'On this difficult course, a couple of little mistakes are costing you a lot of acceleration.'
Roy Matt, the better of two U.S. pilots, wound up 16th as bad starting times and lack of a top-flight sled cost him a few spots.
'Next year, it will be a different story, I will practice differently in summer and work on a new sled,' he said.
The championships wind up next weekend with the four-man competition.