17 July 2014
Aachen: Dutch team takes the leadAs was the case in yesterday's dressage competition, the American Chester Weber once again asserted himself against his fellow competitors in the second dressage test of the four-in-hand drivers. In the Prize of Martello Immobilienmanagement GmbH & Co. KG, the 39-year-old entered the Driving Stadium amid glorious sunshine with his successful team comprising of Boris, Para, Splash and Uniek and was awarded a score of 35.65 penalty points, which was even a slight improvement on yesterday's score.
After obtaining a score of 36.42 points, the Dutch driver Theo Timmermann was able to improve his score enormously compared to his result in the individual dressage competition and is thus close on the heels of the dressage specialist from the other side of the Atlantic. The World Champion and World Cup winner Boyd Exell from Australia ranked third on a score of 36.74.
In contrast to yesterday's class in which the drivers collected points for the individual classification, today's round counts towards the team competition. In the team classification the Netherlands – represented by Theo Timmerman, Koos de Ronde and IJsbrand Chardon – are now clearly lying in first place (79.56) and – should they retain their lead on Sunday – will be able to celebrate their eighth CHIO triumph in succession.
Chester Weber. Photo: Marie de Ronde-Oudemans
Germany follows in the interim results with Mareike Harm, who put down a much better performance today, finishing eighth. Christoph Sandmann (5th place) and Georg von Stein, who was the last to compete in today's test and went on to take sixth place. The German team's current overall score is 92.73 penalty points. At the first glance, this is a lot to catch up, however the German drivers are still optimistic. National coach, Karl-Heinz Geiger, hopes that his team will be able to make up ground in the concluding Marathon competition. "All of the drivers improved their performance compared to yesterday. There is a big difference between the scores, but all is not lost yet. We could catch up a lot of points or even go into the lead, if we do well in the Marathon," the trainer of the host nation stated, who is no doubt secretly hoping that his team can put an end to the Oranje domination at the CHIO Aachen with a good performance in the extremely demanding marathon course.
As the reigning World and European Champions and serial CHIO winners, the Dutch team, led by Chef d'Equipe Harry de Ruyter, are the clear favourites to win. Their team member Theo Timmermann is also the current individual European Champion.
The leading duo is followed by Sweden on a score of 98.88 on third place and Hungary presently ranked fourth (103.36). Weber is the only American competing, which means there is no US team this year.
Tomorrow's cones and the Marathon on Saturday count towards the individual classification. The Marathon competition and a further obstacle driving class on Sunday are decisive for the team classification of the Fendt Nations' Cup.