20 January 2024

Leipzig 2024: Dropped balls cause big differences

Tonight the first competition of the last qualifying competition for the World Cup Final was on the calendar in Leipzig. Because the program ran late, the competition started approximately one hour later than initially planned.

The Germans did not have their best day today, despite the fact that they drove in front of their own audience. Wild Card participant Mareike Harm, Michael Brauchle and Georg von Stein suffered three dropped balls. This resulted in twelve extra seconds for the three of them on top of the time driven. They were therefore unable to qualify for the Drive-off.

Things didn’t go well for Bram Chardon tonight either. Halfway through the course he was only 0.17 seconds slower than Boyd Exell, who remained clear and had the fastest time. Unfortunately, he almost missed the A gate in obstacle nine, which brought him to a standstill for a while. Then later in the course a ball fell, and when he was on his way to gate twelve, he went over the bridge for the third time. He therefore had to make an extra circle to go through gate twelve. That took a lot of time. He therefore finished fifth tonight with a total of 184.22 seconds.

Koos de Ronde also started today with a Wild Card. He was the first participant of the evening and with his time of 166.41 he seemed to come close to the times of the top three, but due to the sixteen extra penalties due to dropped balls, he had to settle for fourth place.

Mareike Harm in Leipzig
Photo: DigiShots


IJsbrand Chardon, Dries Degrieck and Wild Card participant Boyd Exell were selected for the Drive-off. Here gates 5E and 9D disappeared. IJsbrand started first. For him, a ball immediately fell at gate one, and then one of his horses hit the cone of gate eight when he was on his way from B to C in obstacle five. This caused the bell to sound and a pause so that the gate could be rebuilt. A total of 167.21 penalty points was the result of IJsbrand in the Drive-off.

Dries Degrieck then managed to set a time of 152.14 seconds with a very nicely driven and fast round. Unfortunately for him, a ball fell at gate 13, the very last gate. Still, his total of 156.14 penalty points was good enough to overtake IJsbrand.

Boyd Exell achieved another excellent result tonight. With his faultless lap and the time of 149.65 seconds in the Drive-off, no one was able to close the gap of 6.49 penalty points today. This put him head and shoulders above the rest.

The second competition in Leipzig, where the battle for the last World Cup points will take place, starts on Sunday, January 21 at 12:30 PM. Click here for the livestream options

Click here for the photo album

Boyd Exell in Leipzig
Photo: DigiShots

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