Boyd Exell (AUS) won the fifth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving 2011/2012 in Geneva, Switzerland, this afternoon. Exell competed in the Swiss city for the fourth time winning every edition. The crowd and the electric atmosphere in the arena today contributed to another magic performance. Dutch drivers Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman finished in second and third place.
Falk Böhnisch of Germany had designed a difficult course for the seven drivers competing in Europe’s largest indoor arena, known for its unique features such as the water and the small slope, which make it resemble an outdoor marathon course. Böhnisch and President Ground Jury Hans Peter Rüschlin made some small adjustments to today’s course making it better and smoother for the horses.
Theo Timmerman (NED) used his first competition in Stuttgart (GER) several weeks ago to fine-tune his team of horses and his efforts paid off in Geneva. Timmerman was very pleased to qualify for the winning round for the first time in his career. However, the 2010 world and 2011 European team champion was too fast over the bridge and his leaders took the wrong gate going into the marathon type obstacle. He was able to correct this mistake but knew that his chances for a top placing were gone. Theo Timmerman is currently in sixth place of the FEI World Cup™ Driving standings and has one more competition to go.
No Luck Today
Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman finished within a second of each other after the first round. After Timmerman had made the mistake in the winning round, which took place over a shortened course, de Ronde decided against driving a safe round and attacked Exell’s time. Unfortunately he and his team consisting of coloured geldings and the new grey leader horse Night were out of luck knocking one ball down. Koos de Ronde was nevertheless pleased with his second place as he is already certain of a place in the Final.
After his win in Budapest last weekend where he first drove his wheeler horse Clinton Star in the lead, Exell decided to stick to the same team of horses for Geneva. Although he was not as concentrated as last week, the triple FEI World Cup™ Driving champion put on an excellent performance and claimed victory despite one knockdown. Exell is lucky to drive fantastic wheeler horses who do not follow too quickly when his leader horses turn too soon, which is crucial for indoor competitions. Thanks to today’s victory, Exell takes over the lead in the standings from IJsbrand Chardon (NED) and is, like Chardon and De Ronde, certain of a starting place in the Final which will be held in Bordeaux (FRA) from 3 to 5 February 2012.
Change of Horses
Both Zoltán Lázar (HUN) and Werner Ulrich (SUI) decided to make some changes to their four-in-hand after their somewhat disappointing results in Budapest last week. Lázar used two different wheeler horses one of which had been on his team at the FEI World Championships in Kecskemét (HUN) in 2004 where he had won the gold medal. Zoltán’s left wheeler horse is an experienced leader horse and was for the first time today in the right wheel position. Lázar is currently fifth on the standings and has one more competition to go. Werner Ulrich knew he had nothing to loose in Geneva and decided to replace his mare with the eight-year-old bay gelding Rocco next to his fast grey Lipizzaner gelding. Although his team went much faster, Ulrich was just a second behind wildcard driver Thibault Coudry (FRA). Ulrich has completed his indoor season and is seventh on the the standings, which means that he does not qualify for the Final in Bordeaux.
Thibault Coudry from France and home driver Daniel Würgler had received a wildcard to compete in Geneva. Coudry drove his outdoor team of horses fast through the course, but three knockdowns prevented him from a placing in the top three. Daniel Würgler clearly missed the indoor routine and finished seventh in front of his home crowd.
Boyd Exell (AUS): “As I knew I had 13 seconds in hand before I entered the competition, my concentration was not as good as in Budapest when I used Clinton Star in the lead for the first time. I took a wide turn in the second marathon type obstacle, not taking any risks. I knew I was using up some seconds but I wanted to be safe. My navigator Michelle was doing a fantastic job again today, she is a permanent member of my team, just like my wheeler horses.”
Koos de Ronde (NED): “I know I needed luck today to be able to beat Boyd, but I am nevertheless happy with my second place. At the moment I have six horses to choose from and I will use the test event in Olympia next week and my wildcard event in Mechelen to decide on the best option for my team for the Final in Bordeaux.”
Theo Timmerman (NED): “I knew I had nothing to lose so I went for it. Unfortunately I lost control of my leader horses and I took the wrong gate. I knew that my chances were gone but that was a risk I had to take.”
Results CAI-W Geneva 2011:
Boyd Exell (AUS) 256,07 (10)
Koos de Ronde (NED) 260,34 (15)
Theo Timmerman (NED) 305,13 (15)
Zoltan Lazar (HUN) 148,23 (0)
Thibault Coudry (FRA) 157,55 (15)
Werner Ulrich (SUI) 158,03 (5)
Daniel Würgler (SUI) 182,49 (20)
Standings after 5 of 7 events:
1. Boyd EXELL (AUS), 30
Eq. 2. IJsbrand CHARDON (NED), 24
Eq. 2. Koos DE RONDE (NED), 24
4. Jozsef DOBROVITZ (HUN), 15
5. Zoltan LÁZÁR (HUN), 11
6. Theo TIMMERMAN (NED), 7
7. Werner ULRICH (SUI), 6
Eq. 8. Tomas ERIKSSON (SWE), 5
Eq. 8. Rainer DUEN (GER), 5
10. Georg VON STEIN (GER), 3
The 2011/2012 FEI World Cup™ Driving series now moves on to Mechelen, Belgium on Friday, 30 December. For information on the next leg go to www.jumping-mechelen.com or contact Press Officer Edith de Reys, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 475 659 281.
Photo Caption: Boyd Exell (AUS), winner of the fifth FEI World Cup™ Driving 2011/2012 qualifier held in Geneva (SUI) this weekend. ©Rinaldo de Craen/FEI