7 december 2008

Exell beats the competition in Budapest

Australia’s Boyd Exell has won the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving in Budapest after two magnificent rounds. Dutchman Koos de Ronde was last to go in the winning round but came despite a very well driven course just one second short to beat Exell’s fast time. Sweden’s Fredrik Persson was the third driver who qualified for the winning round, but was unable to equal the speed of his competitors and came third.

Photo: Rinaldo de Craen

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First time
After a successful try out competition in 2007, the László Papp Sportarena in Budapest hosted an official FEI World Cup™ Driving competition for the first time this year. The driving minded Hungarian spectators visited the show in large numbers during two days of competition. Course designer Gábor Fíntha, who is also the equipechef of the Hungarian drivers, was much complimented with his fluent course. The fireworks on the bridge that were lit after every competitor added to the terrific atmosphere in Hungary’s capital city.

Wild cards
The organising committee in Budapest had allocated three wild cards for this top event. Stockholm winner and current leader of the standings József Dobrovitz is making a true World Cup Tour at the moment. The 40-year-old driver from the nearby village of Vecsés went to Hannover, Stuttgart, Stockholm, Budapest and will drive his last competition in Geneva next weekend. The Hungarian driver had some bad luck today in the World Cup competition. He knocked a ball from the first cone and missed a gate in the marathon obstacle, which cost him precious seconds. The winner of the bronze team medal came fifth today, but as a wild card driver he does not receive World Cup points so his leading position was not endangered.
Hungarian Champion Lajos Móro drove his team of Lipizzan horses to the sixth place in Budapest. Hungarian newcomer and third wild card driver Peter Juhasz (not related to former World Champion Lászlo Júhasz) was unable to keep up with the high level of indoor driving and finished last with his mixed team of KWPN and Westfalen horses.

Too fast
Switzerland’s Daniel Würgler starts his World Cup season in Budapest and used two new horses in the lead. Despite several knockdowns, Würgler was pleased with his seventh place. “I noticed improvement in my leaders compared to the first night and I will get a second chance next week end in Geneva,” commented professional coachman Würgler.
Like his compatriot Dobrovitz, Zoltan Lázár also lost precious seconds in a marathon obstacle when he went too fast and missed a gate. He had to stop his team to make them go in the right direction again. Lázár finished his last FEI World Cup™ Driving event on the fourth place with 7 points behind his name, which takes him out for the Final in which the best 6 drivers will starts.

High standard
Although Fredrik Persson from Sweden has competed in several FEI World Cup™ Driving events with a wild card, the 2008/2009 season is his first full World Cup season. In Stockholm he came second and in Budapest he drove very well again with his mixed team of Swedish, German and French Trotter and qualified for the winning round in which he came third.

Boyd Exell (Aus):
“The tactics of Koos de Ronde in the first round were very good, he forced Dobrovitz and myself to go fast. When I saw Dobrovitz’ performance was not so good, I knew I had to drive steady and not make any mistakes. In the winning round I had the chance to take a short cut. I knew it was very risky but I learned from Michael Freund that less meters is less time so I went for it. As in Stockholm, my team felt better on the second day and I believe I have all the settings right at the moment.”

Koos de Ronde (Ned)
“It went super for me this evening and I drove two nice and clear rounds. Boyd drove a very fast winning round. I don’t know exactly where I lost that one second, but if you compete at this high level, this little difference makes the sport even more exciting.”

Fredrik Persson (Swe):
“It was only the second time I drove this team together and I am very happy with my performance. I am pleased to notice that my horses went into the obstacles so easily without loosing speed and they already felt easier to drive than in Stockholm last week. It was a strong starting field in Budapest and I am happy that I made it to the top three. The course was very nice to drive and the competition was beautiful. I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of the show, knowing it is only the second edition.”

Results CAI-W Budapest:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 222.95
2. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 223.95
3. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 234.70 (5)
4. Zoltan Lazar (Hun) 126.52 (0)
5. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 127.62 (5) wild card
6. Lajos Moro (Hun) 142.31 (5) wild card
7. Daniel Würgler (Sui) 142.71 (20)
8. Peter Juhasz (Hun) 175.25 (15) wild card


Classification after 4 of 7 events:
1. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 27
2. Ysbrand Chardon (Ned) 17
3. Boyd Exell (Aus) 16
4. Fredrik Persson 12
4. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 12
6. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 8
7. Zoltan Lázár (Hun) 7
8. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 5
9. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 2
9. Daniel Würgler (Sui) 2