22 februari 2009

WC Final Gothenburg: Exell simply the best

Australia’s Boyd Exell was simply the best in the FEI World Cup? Driving Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. The British based driver beat Dutch competitors IJsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde in a thrilling Final and was crowned FEI World Cup Champion for the first time in his career.

The three top drivers qualified for the winning round after breathtakingly fast first rounds. Koos de Ronde made a mistake in the first marathon obstacle and came third. Boyd Exell was second to go and did everything to put the pressure on last starter Chardon. One knock down made Chardon get six seconds ahead of Exell. The excitement in the Scandinavium arena grew every second after the four times World Champion knocked one ball down. When he hit the second ball, it was clear that Chardon was unable to keep his leading position. Chardon came second with ten seconds difference to Exell.

Title defender Christoph Sandmann drove a steady round with his newly composed team after the loss of Rambo in Leipzig and came fourth. Home driver Fredrik Persson is driving his team of mixed Warm bloods since last October and felt that they got better every show. The 35-year-old driver from Flyinge was extremely happy to compete in the Final in which he came fifth. One of the candidates for the World Cup title Jozsef Dobrovitz from Hungary did not know what went wrong as he felt that both his horses and himself were in good shape. The organizer of the nation’s competition in Vecses knocked three balls down and ended on the sixth place.

The course
All competitors except Dobrovitz praised the course, designed by the Swedish course designer Dan Henriksson. Jozsef Dobrovitz felt that the course lacked difficulty; he had expected a more technical course for the Final. His fellow competitors felt that the course, which included long and speedy lines, was the best course of the season. The beautiful flower decorations and the easy to follow obstacles were a joy to watch for the spectators.

Boyd Exell (Aus)
“I am surprised and delighted at the same time about my win. Before the Final, I was hoping for a Top Two-Three placing. The hardest thing is to win when people expect it; I think I have proven now that I am able to perform under pressure.”
“My tactics were to go full speed in the second round. I knocked a cone down because we applied the turntable break whilst we were still in the corner, but I didn’t lose any speed.”
I trained lots of figures of eight the last two weeks. This made my horses go much faster. They have been working hard for me in the past years and I am happy with the feeling I have with them now.”

IJsbrand Chardon (Ned)
“The first round went excellent, but I knew Exell was in good shape as well. After my first knockdown I knew I had to drive even faster. I had to take risks and that cost me another ball to fall. It was nearly impossible to beat Exell’s time, but I am happy that I tried it anyway. I came here to win, but Boyd was simply better.”

Koos de Ronde (Ned)
“I knew that if I didn’t risk anything, I would still be third. I took the risk and it came out wrong. I didn’t get hold of a loop in my reins and I hit a marathon obstacle element. But I am pleased anyway, I have had a very good World Cup season and I haven’t come so far before in an FEI World Cup? Driving Final.”

After Michael Freund, IJsbrand Chardon and Christoph Sandmann, the FEI World Cup? Driving has a new winner with Australia’s Boyd Exell. The FEI World Cup? Driving season 2008/2009 has been very exciting with many different courses and different winners. The four-in-hand drivers will now enter the green season, where they will try to qualify for the ninth season of the FEI World Cup? Driving.

Final result FEI World Cup? Driving season 2008/2009:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 225,94 (5)
2. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 235,94 (10)
3. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 250,68 (15)
4. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 126,34 (5)
5. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 131,38 (15)
6. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 132,67 (15)