15 December 2013

Geneva: Boyd Exell (AUS) secures ticket for the Final with victory

Four-times FEI World Cup™ Driving Champion Boyd Exell (AUS) has secured his ticket for the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final by winning the sixth leg of the 2013/2014 season in Geneva (SUI). Runner-up IJsbrand Chardon gave (NED) everything he could, but one knockdown dropped him to the second place. Stockholm-winner Tomas Eriksson (SWE) finished third.

Despite the early hour on Sunday morning, the stands in the Palexpo hall were filled with enthusiastic spectators, who enjoyed this ‘small final’ as the competitors described the competition in Geneva. The differences between the top three drivers after the first round were within 2 seconds, which resulted in a thrilling Winning Round, demanding the most of the driver’s skills.

Boyd Exell had a short stop in the first obstacle in the first round, which cost him around six seconds. But his speed was excellent and he remained clear in the long course, which resulted in a placing for the Winning Round. Being the second man to go into the arena again, Boyd tried to maintain his high speed without making any mistakes. Driving a new right leader horse, the 7-year-old gelding Aba Sam previously driven by József Dobrovitz jr. (HUN), Boyd went ‘like hell’ and set the fastest time. It is Boyd’s sixth win in a row in Geneva, including the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final of the 2009/2010 season. Boyd has now finished his five World Cup driving events and is in the lead of the standings. The Great-Britain based driver will compete with a wild card at the next leg in London-Olympia next week, after which he will enjoy a well-deserved holiday in his homeland Australia.

Boyd’s good performance put the pressure on last starter IJsbrand Chardon, who drove the same team as with which he won the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Budapest two weeks ago. Although the speed of his Lipizzaner horses was not so high in the first round, Chardon gave everything he had and took all the risk in the Winning Round. Speed was good this time, but one ball fell off obstacle 11, preventing Chardon from winning in Geneva.

Tomas Eriksson also had the same team of horses in front of his carriage with which he was successful at Stockholm two weeks ago, including a horse of his Swedish colleague-four-in-hand driver Axel Olin, who acted as navigator for him in Geneva. Tomas was the first competitor in the Winning Round and he really put the pressure on Boyd and IJsbrand by driving his team fluently through the course, putting down a very fast and clear round. Both Boyd and IJsbrand were faster though, which resulted in the third place for Tomas.

Wild card driver Jérôme Voutaz (SUI) put down a wonderful performance with his four-in-hand of Freiberger mares and his results were much appreciated by the World Cup drivers. Voutaz is the reigning Swiss Champion and competed for the first time in an international competition in September of this year in Donaueschingen (GER), where he finished 19th. The mechanic by profession spends all his free time after work training his horses and was very proud to be able to compete in the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Geneva, his first-ever World Cup start. Jérôme set a fast time and had two knockdowns, which resulted in a well-deserved fourth place, leaving experienced drivers Theo Timmerman (NED) and reigning World Cup Champion Koos de Ronde (NED) behind him.

Both Theo and Koos made a driving error going into the water obstacle, which cost them precious seconds and one knockdown.
Werner Ulrich (SUI) and Thibault Coudry (FRA) had received a wild card as well. Ulrich competed with the same horses as which he competed with in the FEI World Cup™ Driving season 2012/2013. The manager of the driving department of the Swiss Equestrian Centre in Bern finished on the 7th place in Geneva. Werner’s goal for next season is to be in the Top Ten again and to compete in next season’s FEI World Cup Driving.
Thibault Coudry used the bay trotter horses of his outdoor team and was kindly lent two grey geldings by a pally four-in-hand driver from France. Thibault was unable to drive at the necessary high speed in the world’s largest indoor arena and finished on the 8th place.

Click here for the results.

Boyd Exell (AUS): “The golden era, the successful five years I had with my old team is over and I am changing horses to put the best team together again. I think the team has now come to stay with the team and allow them to become a team. I have used the extra competition in Geneva to try new combinations and I will do the same at Olympia next week.

IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “I lacked a bit of power in the first round, but it was enough to make it to the Winning Round. I really went for it and wanted to win, but the risk I took unfortunately resulted in a knockdown. But I am still happy with the good feeling my horses gave me and I enjoyed the good course. I am pleased with my second place, I am now certain of a ticket to the Final in Bordeaux.”

Tomas Eriksson (SWE): “I tried to put the pressure on Boyd and IJsbrand by driving clear and fast. The course was very good to drive and Johan Jacobs made some small adjustments compared to the first night, which made the course more soft and round. I am happy with the third place.”

FEI World Cup™ Driving, Geneva (SUI), 15 December 2013:
1. Boyd Exell (AUS) 279,07
2. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 283,37
3. Tomas Eriksson (SWE) 283,93
4. Jérôme Voutaz (SUI) 153,64
5. Theo Timmerman (NED) 153,94
6. Koos de Ronde (NED) 158,65
7. Werner Ulrich (SUI) 159,92
8. Thibault Coudry (FRA) 162,85

FEI World Cup™ Driving, standings after 6 of 9 events:
1 Boyd EXELL AUS 32
2 IJsbrand CHARDON NED 22
3 Georg VON STEIN GER 19
5 Koos DE RONDE NED 14
8 Jozsef DOBROVITZ jr. HUN 11
10 Michael BRAUCHLE GER 10

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