Title defender Boyd Exell has won the warm up competition of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Driving Final in Geneva on Friday evening, leaving his fellow competitors far behind. Sweden’s Tomas Eriksson came second, ahead of Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands.
Despite the late night hour, the four-in-hand drivers were cheered by a large number of enthusiastic spectators who enjoyed the ever-exciting performances of the four-in-hand drivers. German World Cup™ course designer Falk Böhnisch had designed a technical course in the very large Palexpo Arena, including the unique water splash, which resulted in spectacular images while the drivers passed it.
The drivers started in the reverse order of the standings after the last competition in Bordeaux, with IJsbrand Chardon going first and Boyd Exell going last in the warm up competition.
Because of the air traffic disruption in Europe, Boyd Exell was forced to swap the comfort of an airplane for a long trip by car from Great Britain to Switzerland, but this did not affect the performances of the title defender at all. While most of the leader horses came back before the bridge, Exell’s horses went as always without hesitation, keeping their speed up all the time. Exell beat the time of Sweden’s Tomas Eriksson, who was in the lead so far, by nine seconds, only knocking a ball off the last obstacle.
IJsbrand Chardon drove his four Lipizzaner horses together for the first time in a World Cup event. After having bought three Lipizzaners from his colleague Jozsef Dobrovitz, Chardon completed his grey team in March with another top horse from the Hungarian driver. New leader horse Inci performed very well, but his colleague leader horse Illem let Chardon down in the huge arena in Geneva. The horses came back before the bridge and Chardon had to drive an extra circle which resulted in the sixth place for the four times World Champion.
Home driver Werner Ulrich knocked three balls down and finished fifth, behind his compatriot Daniel Würgler. Würgler drove very nicely, but could not keep the speed up in the marathon obstacles.
Winner of the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Mechelen Koos de Ronde started off being clever by letting his horses already go through the water splash once before the start. His leader horse Tommy does not like water very much and De Ronde wanted to be sure that he went through the splash without any problems. The first half of De Ronde’s course went very well, but he had to drive an extra circle in one of the marathon obstacles. After that, the rhythm was gone and De Ronde knocked three balls down, finishing on the third place. Stockholm-winner Tomas Eriksson drove a very smooth round with only one knock down, which resulted in the second place.
This evening at 22.15 CET, the six drivers will enter the arena for the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Driving Final. Ijsbrand Chardon will start first and Exell has the advantage again to be the last starter. The Top Three drivers of the first round will qualify for the Winning Round, which will take place over the exact same course. The results of the two rounds are counted together and will decide the winner of the ninth season of the FEI World Cup™ Driving.
Boyd Exell (Aus): “I have never had such a fast team in this setting together. They are a super team of horses and their timing is very good. I know that I was allowed one mistake on everybody else, but I also know that in the Final I have to go even clearer and even safer.”
Koos de Ronde (Ned): “I noticed that I miss the indoor rhythm, in the previous events my horses went through the obstacles without any help, now I have to help them all the time. I am going for another Top Three placing in the Final!”
Tomas Eriksson (Swe): “I was watching the first competitors and saw their leader horses coming back for the bridge. I had especially prepared my horses for this bit of the course and they passed the bridge without any problems. I was very pleased with my round, it went very smooth.”
Result warm up competition Rolex FEI World Cup™ Driving Final Geneva:
- 1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 149,10 (5)
- 2. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 158,88 (5)
- 3. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 166,20 (15)
- 4. Daniel Würgler (Sui) 174,55 (5)
- 5. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 179,63 (15)
- 6. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 184,81 (15)
Winners FEI World Cup™ Driving 2001-2010
Season World Cup Champion Final event
- 2001/2002: Michael Freund (Ger) Gothenburg (Swe)
- 2002/2003: Michael Freund (Ger) Gothenburg (Swe)
- 2003/2004: Michael Freund (Ger) Gothenburg (Swe)
- 2004/2005: Michael Freund (Ger) and IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) Gothenburg (Swe)
- 2005/2006: IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) Gothenburg (Swe)
- 2006/2007: Michhael Freund (Ger) Gothenburg (Swe)
- 2007/2008: Christoph Sandmann (Ger) Leipzig (Ger)
- 2008/2009: Boyd Exell (Aus) Gothenburg (Swe)
Photo caption: Boyd Exell (Aus) winner of the warm up competition of the Rolex FEI World Cup Driving Final in Geneva (SUI). (c) Rinaldo de Craen.