Boyd Exell (AUS) went fast in the first competition of the second leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving in Stuttgart, Germany. He went even faster in the first round of the World Cup and was the fastest driver in the Winning Round in the fully packed Schleyer Halle. Exell proved unbeatable once again and recorded his second victory of the season in as many participations. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) tried to put Exell under pressure but did not succeed and finished second, ahead of Jozsef Dobrovitz (HUN).
Stuttgart is one of the favourite shows of the drivers taking part in the series and the enthusiastic crowd, the electric atmosphere and this year’s course, designed by Falk Böhnisch (GER) contributed again to the event’s popularity.
Lipizzaner Power in the Winning Round
Jozsef Dobrovitz set the time to beat in the Winning Round with his team of Lipizzaner horses. Dobrovitz’ left wheeler horse felt a little tired after the first round, but recovered in the second round and helped the driver from Vecsés to secure third place. Dobrovitz had made a small adjustment to his carriage in order to go even faster in the open parts of the course and to turn very quickly in the technical marathon obstacles.
Runner-up IJsbrand Chardon, who was determined to put Exell under pressure, knew he had several seconds in hand and decided to take risks. The four-time World Champion went as fast as his Lipizzaner horses would take him, but knocked down two balls, which gave Boyd Exell an advantage of just over 13 seconds.
Exell had left his 23-year-old trump horse Bill at home after his winning performance at Hannover three weeks ago. The gelding will rest until the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final which takes place in Bordeaux (FRA) in February 2013. With the Lipizzaner horse Bajnok, the Orlov trotter Spitfire, and the warm blood geldings Lucky and Carrington Park Ajax, he drove two phenomenally fast rounds and the knockdown at the last gate did put his victory in danger. Being the wild card driver, Exell will not receive World Cup points for his performance at Stuttgart.
Georg von Stein (GER) decided to change two of the horses in his team after his disappointing performance at Hannover and this worked out very well. Von Stein used new horses in the lead and in the wheel and went very fast through the course. Two unfortunate knockdowns kept him from qualifying for the Winning Round, but Von Stein was pleased with his results and is confident that the new horses have the potential to improve in the near future.
Christoph Sandmann (GER) was first to start in the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition, but only a few minutes before he was called in, his leader horse kicked a wheeler horse and his spare horse had to be put in very quickly. Luckily, the wheeler horse was not injured and is fit to travel home. Sandmann finished fifth in his first FEI World Cup™ Driving performance of the season, ahead of Theo Timmerman (NED) who also began his season in Stuttgart.
Gold Badge of Honour
German international course designer Falk Böhnisch was awarded a well deserved decoration after the first competition. Böhnisch was presented with the Gold Badge of Honour of the Landeskommision (regional government) of Baden-Württemberg. This year was the last year that Böhnisch was responsible for the course at Stuttgart. He will be in charge of the course at the FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifier in Geneva (SUI) in December one last time and will then retire as an FEI course designer.
Boyd Exell (AUS): “I felt no pressure when I entered the arena for the Winning Round, my horses felt very good. I went fast where I could in the open sections and I was careful in the difficult sections. I did not take any risks and I enjoyed the course, which was brilliant to drive. Thanks to Falk Böhnisch this is probably the best indoor course we have ever driven.”
IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “The first round went really well, it could not have been better. I wanted to try some new things and took some risks in the second round, but unfortunately I had two knockdowns even though my time was good. I have at least two more competitions where I can try to beat Boyd! The horses are very fast and the only thing I have to do is stay clear myself. I am not giving up hope to beat Boyd just yet.”
Jozsef Dobrovitz (HUN): “I drove the same four-in-hand as in the Final in Leipzig in 2010. I am very pleased to be back in Stuttgart after I was not able to choose this venue last year. My horses were very good.”
Results CAI-W Stuttgart 2012:
Boyd Exell (AUS) 216,71
IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 226,57
Jozsef Dobrovitz (HUN) 228,17
Georg von Stein (GER) 132,08
Christoph Sandmann (GER) 133,41
Theo Timmerman (NED) 135,37
Standings after 2 of 8 events:
1 IJsbrand CHARDON NED 17
2 Boyd EXELL AUS 10
3 Georg VON STEIN GER 7
4 Jozsef DOBROVITZ HUN 7
5 Tomas ERIKSSON SWE 5
6 Koos DE RONDE NED 3
7 Christoph SANDMANN GER 3
8 Theo TIMMERMAN NED 2
9 Fredrik PERSSON SWE 0
10 Werner ULRICH SUI 0
Photo Caption: Boyd Exell (AUS) was unbeatable again in the second leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving in Stuttgart (GER) ©Rinaldo de Craen/FEI.