Volosozhar and Trankov produced a flawless skate to score 83.98 points and open up a seven-point lead over Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, the pair who ended the Russians’ 20-month unbeaten run at last month’s Grand Prix Finals.
The Russians will now attempt to secure a third straight European title in Saturday’s free skate, and further confirm their status as leading gold medal contenders for next month’s Winter Olympics. The previous short program record was 83.05, set by Volosozhar and Trankov at Skate America in Detroit in October.
Third place in Budapest is held by another Russian pair, Vera Bazarova and Yury Larionov, who produced a personal-best 71.70 but were let down by a poor death spin that was marked at the lowest level by the judges. The third Russian pair, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, is 0.80 points further back.
On Thursday, Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte took the victory in the ice dance competition, with Yelena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov second for Russia, while Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland took the bronze, Britain’s first major competition medal since 2011.
Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova leads the ladies’ competition ahead of the free skate later Friday, while Spain’s Javier Fernandez will defend his lead when the men’s event finishes Saturday.