German driver Daniel Schneiders won his second FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifiers of the season on home soil in Leipzig this afternoon. He drove two impeccable clear rounds and beat his experienced Dutch opponents IJsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde.
Following his first FEI World Cup™ Driving start in October 2012 in Hannover (GER), where he competed on a wildcard, Schneider had set himself the goal for the summer of 2013 to qualify for the upcoming indoor season. After Christoph Sandmann (GER) and Chester Weber (USA) decided not to compete in the series’ 13th season, the German became the 10th driver qualified for the FEI World Cup™ Driving 2013/2014. After his win in Stuttgart, where he beat four-time FEI World Cup™ Driving Champion Boyd Exell (AUS), the 32-year old driver was the best again in Leipzig.
Dr Wolfgang Asendorf (GER) had designed a very good course, which was appreciated by the spectators and the competitors alike.
Schneiders, who recently sold his outdoor four-in-hand team in the USA, used the 13-year old KWPN Hermes as his wheeler horse for the second time this season. After his somewhat disappointing results at London Olympia where he had driven the gelding for the first time, Schneiders was now able to make full use of the horses’ potential, which resulted in two fabulous clear and fast rounds. Being the second man in the arena in the winning round, Schneiders decided to see how fast his team would go. The former pony four-in-hand driver crossed the finishing line in an incredibly fast time and the spectators in the sold-out Messehalle in Leipzig rewarded his phenomenal performance with a deserved standing ovation.
Last man in, IJsbrand Chardon, could afford one ball down, but after a second knockdown, he knew his chances for victory were lost. Chardon had to make a change in his team after one of his wheeler horses was slightly injured before he left for Leipzig. His relatively new trump Feles replaced the Lipizzaner gelding Fegyenc and Chardon was very pleased with him.
Reigning FEI World Cup™ Driving champion Koos de Ronde had a setback at the horse inspection where his most experienced wheeler horse Mario was found not fit to compete. The 20-year-old piebald gelding was the horse which De Ronde could not afford to lose. He had however to settle for Palero in the right wheel instead, a position to which the 10-year old gelding is not used. De Ronde was however to make the most of this change. In the first round, the Dutch driver experienced slight miscommunication with his horses in one of the marathon obstacles, which cost him precious seconds and a ball down. Luckily for him, last starter Michael Brauchle (GER) was unable to match his good performance in the warm-up competition, which he had won, and finished in sixth place, allowing Koos de Ronde to move up to third.
Tomas Eriksson (SWE) knocked one ball too many down and finished in fourth place, just ahead of wildcard driver Georg von Stein (GER), who had two knockdowns as well.
Daniel Schneiders (GER): “I always perform better under pressure. In London Olympia I started off too quickly whereas today I was really able to focus. My tactics were to drive safely on the first night when I placed second. Today I decided to go for it in the winning round to see how fast my horses could go. If I’d had one knockdown, I would’ve slowed down, but it went so well that I just kept going. Qualifying for the Final in my first FEI World Cup™ Driving season is a dream come true.”
IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “I knew I was a few seconds ahead of Daniel Schneiders when I entered the winning round and I had to take some risks. After the second knockdown I knew I could not win but I decided to keep driving at high speed to see how my horses would go and they did a great job. I am very pleased with them. Hopefully my injured horse Fegyenc will be fit again for Bordeaux but I will keep training Feles just to be sure.”
Koos de Ronde (NED): “I had a slight miscommunication with my horses in the first round where I nearly took the wrong gate in an obstacle. If I had continued, it would have cost me 20 penalty seconds, so I quickly decided to put them back. This cost me around 10 seconds and a knockdown and I was lucky to make it to the winning round at all. I then knew third place was the highest place achievable for me this year in Leipzig, so I am pleased. I still have some homework to do before the Final in Bordeaux, but I know my horses have the speed we need.”
FEI World Cup™ Driving, Leipzig (GER), 19 January 2014:
Daniel Schneiders (GER) 212,53
IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 215,66
Koos de Ronde (NED) 240,73
Tomas Eriksson (SWE) 121,48
Georg von Stein (GER) 123,85
Michael Brauchle (GER) 124,09
The 2013/2014 FEI World Cup™ Driving series now moves on to the Final in Bordeaux (FRA) on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 February 2014. For information on Bordeaux go www.jumping-bordeaux.com or contact Press Officer Pascal Renauldon, email@example.com, +33 608759407.