22 augustus 2009

WC Kecskemet: Dutch strike again

After Mieke van Tergouw from The Netherlands won the dressage at the FEI World Pair Driving Championship in Kesckemét, the Dutch national anthem was played again after the marathon. Harry Verstappen drove a magnificent marathon in the dramatic heat in Hungary and was declared the winner.

Results marathon:
1. Harrie Verstappen (Ned) 86,31
2. Zoltan Lázár (Hun) 89,59
3. Klaus Tebbe (Ger) 90,74
4. Matthias Henkes (Lux) 90,78
5. Jacek Kozlowski (Pol) 92,76

Individual standings after dressage and marathon:
1. Zoltan Lázár (Hun) 135,16
2. Harrie Verstappen (Eersel) 135,72
3. Beat Schenk (Sui) 139,94
4. Sebastian Warneck (Ger) 145,68
5. Mathias Henkes (Lux) 146,08


Standings nations competition after dressage and marathon:
1. Nederland 272,4
2. Hongarije 276,6
3. Duitsland 296,7
4. Zwitserland 297,6
5. USA 301,1

Click here for the full results thanks to Philippe Lienart.


Harry Verstappen (Ned):
“It was a beautiful but heavy marathon. There was little time between the obstacles, but luckily we drove away after each obstacle, which allowed the horses some air. My goal was to win the marathon at the World Championship. I am a happy man, because I succeeded! Two years ago it didn’t work out for me and the marathon in Kecskemét was difficult enough. To be able to win a marathon in a marathon nation like Hungary makes it extra special. I also enjoyed the fact that there were so many spectators, it gave a special dimension to the marathon.”

Zoltan Lázár (Hun):
“It was the most difficult marathon of my life, I was on double pressure after my brother Vilmos had the accident in obstacle 2. Before I went into the marathon, I heard about his accident, but I could not get any information on his health status. I am happy with my own performance, but I am upset about my brother’s accident.”

Klaus Tebbe (Ger):
“It went very well for me today and I am very pleased with my performance. The marathon contained many aspects; technical and heavy obstacles. The spectators were fantastic and the event is great.”

The decisive obstacle driving competition is held on Sunday and will ask the drivers and their horses to show their form for the last time. According to course designer Christian Iseli, the course will be ‘not easy, but Iseli!’


The 1997 World Pair Champion and 2004 World four-in-hand Champion Zoltan Lázár has taken over the lead in the standings from Mieke van Tergouw. He is followed on less than one point by Harrie Verstappen and Switzerland’s Beat Schenk.
The Dutch are still in the lead of the nations standings, ahead of Hungary, Germany and Switzerland.

The marathon took place under extreme warm circumstances. Despite the high temperature, 30.000 spectators visited the event and witnessed beautiful driving sport with lots of ups and several down moments.
Winner of the dressage Mieke van Tergouw from The Netherlands had a corrected error of course in the first obstacle, which got her 20 penalty points and lost her chances to a good position after the marathon.
Defending World Champion Vilmos Lázár from Hungary fell off his carriage on his way to the finish of the second obstacle. Luckily, the navigator reacted adequately and grabbed the reins and the pair came to a stop. Both Vilmos and his navigator had minor injuries but will compete tomorrow. Vilmos completed the marathon after the incident and herewith secured his dressage score for the team result.
World Pair Champion 2005 Rainer Pointl took the wrong way in obstacle 7 and was eliminated. László Juhász jr., son of the 1984 World four-in-hand Champion László Juhász, withdrew in obstacle four after one of his horses got lame. The groom of Daniel Wütrich from Switzerland got injured falling off the carriage coming out of obstacle six. The man was taken to hospital but was released in the afternoon with minor injuries.

It was a heavy marathon for the 69 pair drivers. The eight long and demanding obstacles followed each other without much time in between to recover, which made it extra heavy for the drivers and their horses. Dutch driver Harry Verstappen set the fastest times in four obstacles with his pair of pinto Dutch warm bloods. It is a true pleasure watching Verstappen go through the obstacles, without any unnecessary noise, not touching any part of the obstacles and using his whip very occasionally. Hungarian Favorite Zoltán Lázár came second, ahead of Klaus Tebbe, the individual competitor from Germany who won the marathon in Warka 2007 competing with the same horses.