30 December 2013

Mechelen: Timmerman secures ticket to the Final

Dutch driver Theo Timmerman has secured his ticket to the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final by winning the 8th leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving in Mechelen, Belgium. Theo beat his compatriot Koos de Ronde and József Dobrovitz (HUN).

1 IJsbrand CHARDON NED 32
1 Boyd EXELL AUS 32
4 Georg VON STEIN GER 21
4 Koos DE RONDE NED 21
8 Michael BRAUCHLE GER 15
10 Jozsef DOBROVITZ jr. HUN 14

Dutch O-course designer Johan Jacobs, who has been responsible for the courses in Verona, Geneva and London Olympia this season, laid out a good course for the seven drivers in Mechelen. Jacobs will also be the course designer at the 2013/2014 FEI World Cup™ Driving Final in Bordeaux.

It was a ‘last chance competition’ for Theo as he had to end in the top three in Mechelen to qualify for the Final in Bordeaux at the start of February. Theo set a very fast time in the first round, unfortunately knocking a ball off the last pair of cones. But this result was sufficient for a much-needed place in the Winning Round. József Dobrovitz and four-times winner of the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Mechelen Koos de Ronde also put down good performances, cheered by the enthusiastic spectators in the sold out Nekkerhal in Mechelen, securing a place in the top three.
Dobrovitz knocked a ball off the first obstacle and lost his chances to victory when another ball fell. Mechelen was the last competition for József Dobrovitz and he unfortunately has not made it to the Final for the first time in four years.
Theo Timmerman was determined to perform well in Mechelen, knowing Koos was competing with a wild card so the full ten World Cup points would go to him even when he would finish second behind his team mate. Theo drove his special indoor team very fast through the nice and fluent course and even beat his own time of the first round by nearly two seconds. The reigning European four-in-hand Champion remained clear, which put the pressure on last man in the arena Koos de Ronde.
Koos used the same horses in his four-in-hand as last week in London Olympia, where he finished second. One unfortunate knockdown in one of the marathon obstacles prevented him from securing his fifth victory in Mechelen and he had to leave the honours this time to Theo Timmerman.

Theo finished second in Verona and in Budapest and knew it was possible to win with this team, but fallen balls kept preventing him from winning. In Mechelen, it finally came together for him and he was able to not only win his first ever FEI World Cup™ Driving competition, but also secure a ticket for the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final.
Tomas Eriksson (SWE) was very close to a top-three placing, but after having one knockdown, he also hit the last set of cones, dropping him to the fourth place. Mechelen was also the last competition for József Dobrovitz junior (HUN), who was assisted on the carriage by his good friend, double World Pony four-in-hand Champion Bram Chardon (NED), who was his navigator. Dobrovitz junior drove a clear and safe round, but missed the necessary speed for a top placing. The 21-year-old driver finished on the 10th place in his first FEI World Cup™ Driving season.
Georg von Stein (GER) had two knockdowns in the course and came sixth, which puts him into a provisional fourth place in the standings. Von Stein will start with a wild card in Leipzig mid January and it will depend on the results of his compatriots Michael Brauchle and Daniel Schneiders whether he will stay in the top six to make it to the Final.
Second wild card driver Glenn Geerts (BEL) put down a very good performance, driving his outdoor team of horses. Geerts put a lot of effort and training into his team to be able to keep up with the professional World Cup drivers in Mechelen. Unfortunately, Glenn lost one of his best wheeler horses several weeks ago and had to use a spare horse, but the 24-year-old talented driver was still very proud to compete as such high level in front of his home crowd.

Click here for the results

Click here for the videos

Click here for the photos, thanks to Marie de Ronde