Aachen, (GER)- The double World Champion Felix Marie Brasseur from Belgium won the very exciting “Prize of H&T Automotive Components”, the obstacle driving competition this afternoon in the fully-packed Driving Stadium at the FEI European Championships for Four-in-Hand Driving in Aachen.
Brasseur was the first of the 36 competitors to drive a double clear round, much to the pleasure of the enthusiastic spectators and Brasseur’s team members. The next driver to compete, József Dobrovitz (HUN), equalled this amazing performance and also crossed the finish line without any penalties. His time however was a little slower than Brasseur’s, which put the most successful Belgian driver in the lead in this competition. Ijsbrand Chardon (NED) finished third with just 0.42 time penalties.
The Aachener Course Designer, Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf, had buildt a very nice, but selective course for the 36 drivers. In the end, eight drivers completed the course within the allowed time and only Brasseur and Dobrovitz drove clear. The German driver, Michael Brauchle, only had one obstacle fault and finished fourth, ahead of Koos de Ronde and Georg von Stein. The Swiss drivers, Jérôme Voutaz and Cyril Maret, already prooved at the start of the competition that the allowed time was fair, however they both knocked two balls down and finished in 7th and 8th place respectively.
In the overall ranking, Ijsbrand Chardon has a comfortable lead with a total score of nine penalty points (36 seconds) ahead of József Dobrovitz, Koos de Ronde and Felix Marie Brasseur. The defending European Champion, Theo Timmerman, dropped down to ninth place after he had to make a last-minute change to his four-in-hand team, after one of his leader horses had a problem with one of the nails in his horseshoe.
The FEI European Four-in-Hand Driving Championships is the last competition for Belgian legend Felix-Marie Brasseur. After numerous national and international successes, Brasseur will no longer take part at driving competitions due to financial reasons. He is retiring from the sport at the event where he won his second World Champion title in 2006. "I do not have the necessary sponsors to continue competing at this level." says Brasseur. Brasseur was extremely happy with his clear round today, which put him into fourth place in the individual standings: “The horses were super, they put in the same top performance as in the dressage. I gave everything I had today. I wanted to stay clear and half way through the course I noticed that I was within time, so I continued driving as before."
The top four in the team results remain unchanged, but the scores are closer together, except for the leaders. Thanks to the good performances of Ijsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde, the title defenders from the Netherlands have a lead of 20 penalty points ahead of Hungary. Belgium is still on course for bronze, but Germany is less than one point away from a podium place. With three excellent marathon drivers in the team, Germany will most certainly go for gold in this final competition of the European Championships, which starts at 11.05 on Saturday morning.
The drivers can expect a nice "Deutsche Post Marathon" with technical and fast obstacles. The last obstacle is located in the Main Stadium at the Aachener Soers for the first time ever.