18 January 2015

Leipzig: Koos de Ronde flies to victory in Leipzig

Koos de Ronde (NED) flew to victory in the super exciting winning round of the last FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifier of this season in Leipzig (GER). His compatriot IJsbrand Chardon was as the last starter well on his way to victory but unfortunately his carriage tipped over in the last part of the course and was eliminated. Wild card driver Boyd Exell had one knockdown and finished on the second place.

German level 4 Course Designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf had laid out a challenging course for the seven drivers, with technical and fast parts: “I know that the Course Designer for the Final in Bordeaux Dan Henriksson (SWE) is known for his fast courses, so I wanted to make one more technical course for the drivers,” explained Asendorf.

IJsbrand Chardon knew before the start of the competition that he had nothing to loose and decided to use his new trump Aladin in the lead of his team. Chardon used the piebald gelding before in the first competitions at the previous FEI World Cup™ Driving events but never in the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition for points. The nine-year-old gelding set Chardon’s team on fire and took three seconds off Koos’ time in the first round, securing their leading position with a clear round. The four-times World Champion entered the arena for the Winning Round, knowing he had an 8 second-advantage to Koos. Chardon flew through the course again and was on his way to victory when his carriage tipped over in the last phase of the course. Luckily, neither IJsbrand, his grooms nor his horses got injured.

Koos de Ronde’s experienced leader horse Kasper was not fit this morning and Koos decided to replace him by the equally experienced Palero. De Ronde drove very short and with lots of power which resulted in a very fast and clear first round. The winner of the Qualifiers in Budapest and Mechelen went for it in the Winning Round, which took place over a shortened course. Koos set a fast time again and passed the finish line with one knockdown behind his name. It was now all in the hands of his compatriot, last starter IJsbrand Chardon.

Boyd Exell had two unusual knockdowns in the first round and was first to start in the Winning Round. The five-times World Champion set a very fast time again, but another knockdown gave Koos de Ronde even more air and Boyd finished on the second place after IJsbrand tipped up.

Werner Ulrich set a clear round, driving his team of Swiss bred horses and one Lipizzaner to the fourth place.

József Dobrovitz used two new horses in his four-in-hand; the left leader and the left wheeler horse had never seen a World Cup Driving event before! József felt that the left leader horse he used in Budapest and Geneva was not capable enough. He changed him for a young and fast Lipizzaner horse Platon with which he is now able to drive both straight and safe. The left leader horse is also a new Lipizzaner. It was the first time for the 11-year old Pandur as leader horse in a big competition, József only started driving him in his four-in-hand two weeks ago.

Dobrovitz drove very economical in the first half of the course, but lost speed in the second half. One knock down prevented him from qualifying for the Winning Round.

1. Koos de Ronde (NED) 242,32
2. Boyd Exell (AUS) 251,99
3. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) –
4. Werner Ulrich (SUI) 138,26
5. József Dobrovitz (HUN) 138,57
6. Georg von Stein (GER) 154,11
7. Theo Timmerman (NED) 163,20

Carriage driving is a team sport, this was proven once again by IJsbrand Chardon and József Dobrovitz. Chardon’s eldest daughter Jeannette, an international eventing rider herself, was navigating for her father, while his son Bram, double World pony four-in-hand champion, was his back stepper.
Dobrovitz’ son József, a very successful international pony and horse four-in-hand driver, acted as his navigator. His nephew Krisztóf Osztertag who is also very successful on the international circuit with his horse pair, was his back stepper.


Koos de Ronde (NED): “I won in 2013 in Leipzig, it was the last competition for the Final as well then, which I won! So I hope that this victory brings me good luck for the Final this year as well! Of course this is not the best way to win, I won because IJsbrand tipped over, but the feeling was very good today. This also gives me a good feeling for the Final.

Boyd Exell (AUS): ”I made two mistakes myself in the first round which was a little disappointing, but I am happy with my horses. I had a very good feeling. My team is good and I am not worried for the Final.

IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “I had a super feeling, I drove for a ‘ten’ and I did not make any mistakes. I knew that I was on my way to win it. It is a pity that I turned over, but it had nothing to do with the course. This could have happened anywhere. The most important thing for me was that I had a very good feeling, also towards the Final.

One of Georg von Stein’s fast Lipizzaner horses with which he finished third in Mechelen was injured and Georg replaced him with the experienced horse Fax, which he had lent to his compatriot Christoph Sandmann for the World Cup season. Second wild card driver Georg finished on the sixth place, ahead of the reigning European Champion Theo Timmerman (NED).

Photo: Karl-Heinz Frieler

1 Boyd EXELL AUS 30
2 Koos DE RONDE NED 25
3 Fredrik PERSSON SWE 24
5 Christoph SANDMANN GER 17
6 Georg VON STEIN GER 13
8 Werner ULRICH SUI 10

Click here for the photos