A record number of 14 nations will be represented at the ninth edition of the FEI European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand in Aachen (GER), which gets underway on Wednesday 19 August. A total of 37 drivers will battle it out for the individual medals, with 12 nations fielding teams. Romania and Portugal have one individual each, while Germany has host nation privileges and will have both a full team of three drivers, plus three individuals.
The full list of nations competing in Aachen is: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The FEI European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand were first held in 1971 in Budapest (HUN) and continued to be held every two years until 1981. The Championships moved to Windsor in Great Britain in 1973, Sopot in Poland in 1975, Donaueschingen in Germany in 1977 and Haras du Pin in France in 1979. The sixth edition took place in 1981 in Zug, Switzerland. These Championships were re-launched in 2011 in Breda (NED) and the most recent Championships were held in Izsák, Hungary, in 2013.
The Dutch, always the ones to be reckoned with, will be defending the team title they won both in Izsák two years ago and in Breda in 2011. The “Orange team”, which has been unbeaten for a long time at the Championships, is composed of the same three drivers, IJsbrand Chardon (individual gold in 2011), Koos de Ronde (individual bronze in 2011) and defending individual European champion Theo Timmerman.
The German and Hungarian teams were in a strong fight for silver and bronze during the previous two editions and both teams will be doing their very best to prevent the Dutch from taking home another gold medal. The German team is made up of multiple medal winners Christoph Sandmann, Georg von Stein and Michael Brauchle. Hungary still leads the medal table overall, claiming five individual and five team titles down through the years. And the 2015 Hungarian team also has its share of medallists in the very successful drivers József Dobrovitz, who won individual silver in 2011, his son József junior and 2013 bronze individual medallist Zoltán Lázár.
But the Belgians are in fighting form with the very experienced Félix-Marie Brasseur and the young and talented drivers Glenn Geerts and Edouard Simonet, and can’t be discounted as medal contenders.
Tuesday, 18 August
10.00 – Horse inspection
Wednesday, 19 August
10.00 – 14.00 – Dressage (1st part)
Thursday, 20 August
10.00 – 14.00 – Dressage (2nd part)
Friday, 21 August
14.00 – 17.00 - Cones
Saturday, 22 August
11.50 – 15.25 - Marathon
20.25 – Prize-giving ceremony
Visit www.aachen2015.de for more information