15 October 2016
Pau: Miguel Gutierrez wins Cones and takes over the leadThis afternoon the eventing obstacles of the spectacular cross country in the main arena in the Domaine de Sers were quickly replaced by the cones for the obstacle driving competition of the Nations Cup for Pairs. The rain that had tortured Pau for the last days was replaced today by a lovely warm sunshine, which contributed even more to the fantastic atmosphere. Spain's Miguel Gutierrez only had very little time penalties and won this competition, which puts him in the lead of the individual standings before the marathon.
Dutch driver Stan van Eijk was in the lead for quite some time. Van Eijk only had 0,66 for exceeding the time allowed and none of the pair drivers were able to improve this until Gutierrez entered the main stadium, where the stands were filled with spectators. Gutierrez drove a very nice round with his pair of Hannoverian geldings and passed the finish line just a fraction too late. With 0,47 points, the 47-year-old businessman has taken over the lead from dressage winner Verstappen: "It is nice to win, but I am sure it will be the other way around again tomorrow after the marathon!" laughed a realistic Gutierrez.
Verstappen did not have any knock downs, but was not fast enough and came out of the arena with 10,44 penalty points.
Level 4 Course Designer Jacques Tamalet from France had laid out a challenging, but nice course with good lines. The drivers had to be fast and the hard surface did not make it any easier.
Miguel Gutierrez has an advantage of 7 points to Verstappen, who is very closely followed, within 2 points, by James Broome, Stan van Eijk and Frédéric Bousquet, which will ensure an exciting battle in the marathon tomorrow.
The Dutch team is still in the lead with 119,60 penalty points, ahead of Spain with 125,94, France with 129,45 and Great Britain with 131,75.