After four exciting days with seventy-seven drivers from 24 nations at the eighth FEI World Single Driving Championships in Izsák (HUN) at the weekend, Dutch driver Wilbrord van den Broek won individual gold and Germany took team gold for the third time in a row.
Four-time Dutch champion Wilbrord van den Broek won the Dressage phase with 18-year-old Oscar, which was first driven by Wilbrord’s father Jan van den Broek who won the Dressage phase of the 2008 World Championships before going on to win individual gold.
Frenchman Renaud Vinck finished second in Dressage with the 10-year-old Hannoverian gelding Don Camillo, with Austrian Rudolf Pirhofer and the 19-year-old warmblood gelding Baritello taking third.
All eyes were on the German driver Claudia Lauterbach, whose hat was blown off during her Dressage test and landed on the centre line. The question was would she drive over it, and she did, which landed her in tenth place.
France took the team lead ahead of Germany and Poland after Dressage, with twenty-four pairs finishing the phase with under 50 penalties, underlining the stellar performances.
The marathon phase was very demanding due to the A-section, which included deep sand that required a lot of power from the horses.
The 21-year-old American driver Jacob Arnold, voted USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year in 2011, won the marathon with his Morgan Hotspurs Red Rowl, and set the fastest times in four of the eight marathon obstacles.
Wenche Johannesen (NOR) finished second with Engkildergårds Rts Saturn, owned by Norwegian para driver Liv Ryen Kristiansen, and the experienced German driver Dieter Lauterbach came third with 9-year-old Hessen gelding Dirigent.
The competition was close again in the marathon, with Renaud Vinck ultimately taking the lead in the individual standings after finishing in 11th place with just over a one point advantage on Wilbrord van den Broek and less than two points on Weronika Kwiatek (POL).
In the team competition, Germany jumped one point ahead of France with Norway working their way up to third, thanks to the strong performances of Wenche Johannesen and Oivind Mikkelsen. Switzerland and Poland followed closely, with The Netherlands in sixth.
The experienced Hungarian 4-star Course Designer Gábor Fintha created a fantastic, technical cones course on which seven drivers put down double clears.
The 33-year-old Claudia Lauterbach, married to German Youth Driving Trainer Dieter Lauterbach, jumped from sixth in the standings to win the cones phase and claim individual silver at her very first World Championships. Her compatriot, 35-year-old Marlen Fallak, veterinary assistant by profession and also at her first World Championships, moved up from fifth with a clear round and just one penalty point for exceeding the time allowed, to score bronze.
The 44-year-old Wilbrord van den Broek, who won individual bronze two years ago, drove an amazing double clear to claim his first individual gold.
The Germans remained unbeaten once again and took home team gold for the third consecutive FEI World Single Driving Championships. Frenchman Renaud Vinck, who was on track for individual gold but had an unfortunate knock down and time penalties putting him in fourth, helped to score France’s silver, and Switzerland was able to move up to bronze thanks to three rounds without knockdowns and only a few time penalties.
Wilbrord van den Broek (NED): “It was a spectacular and well organized World Championship. My horse Oscar won the individual silver medal with my father in Astorp 2004 and they won gold in Jarantow 2008. I started driving him in 2010. We won bronze in Lezirias 2012 and now gold, he is just an amazing horse! He still is super fit and if he looks well in spring, I will continue to compete with him next season. He is not ready for retirement yet.”
Claudia Lauterbach (GER): “We had a great team and we all helped each other, it was amazing. The World Championships were well organized and the marathon obstacles were really nice.”
Marlen Fallak (GER): “This is just an indescribable feeling. I am very pleased and the Dressage went very well for us. My horse did a fantastic job.”
FEI World Single Driving Championships 2014 in Izsák (HUN) - Individual results:
- Wilbrord van den Broek (NED) 130,46
- Claudia Lauterbach (GER) 133,69
- Marlen Fallak (GER) 133,85
- Renaud Vinck (FRA) 136,69
- Weronika Kwiatek (POL) 136,81
FEI World Single Driving Championships 2014 in Izsák (HUN) - Team results:
- Germany 266,93
- France 269,87
- Switzerland 273,82