Maxim Tsvetkov and his resurgent Russians cashed in on the favourable conditions to turn the Biathlon World Cup season on its head in Ruhpolding.
Tsvetkov, Said Karimulla Khalili, Daniil Serokhvostov and Alexandr Loginov combined to beat Germany by seven seconds and haul themselves level with Norway at the top of the 4x7.5km standings.
The Norwegians, winners of the first two relay events of the season in Ostersund and Hochfilzen, struggled to replicate that form and could only finish seventh as Belarus grabbed a surprise spot on the podium.
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Conditions in Bavaria could not have been more conducive to accurate shooting and Tsvetkov, who delivered a rock-solid anchor leg to edge Russia over the line, said: "The weather was quite good today so at the shooting range, it was not that tough for me.
"I was just trying to shoot clean and have a good result. I also felt quite well on the tracks so everything went well."
Tsvetkov and Loginov proved the lynchpins for Russia as impressive finals legs helped them leapfrog the leaders and reel Norway in at the summit of the table.
Italy - who finished fourth - Germany and Belarus remained in contention for large parts of the contest but sharp shooting from Tsvetkov, 30, in the closing stages ensured it was Russia who reigned supreme.
The 2017 world champion closed three targets in quick succession to capitalise on Belarusian profligacy and inject new life into the season in Germany.
The 4x7.5km relay standings are now tantalisingly poised heading into the last two World Cup races of the season, with Russia and Norway locked on 156 points each ahead of the next race in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy, next weekend.
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16/01/2022 AT 14:59