Switzerland¹s Geneva International Horse Show will host the FEI World Cup Driving for the first time from 12 to 15 December 2002. The 42nd edition of Switzerland¹s prominent horse show takes place in Europe¹s biggest indoor arena (51 x 98 meters). The course includes a water splash and a small hill to guarantee spectacular moments for the four-in-hand drivers and the crowd.
Dutch driver Mark Weusthof will join Geneva by making his debut in the World Cup Driving series. Reigning World Champion and his team member in Jerez, IJsbrand Chardon, will accompany him. After his disappointing results in the World Cup competition in Stockholm two weeks ago (5th place), Chardon will use the borrowed Cob team again in Geneva.
"It was not possible for me to prepare a different team in such short period of time. I expect though, that the horses will perform well in Geneva," comments Chardon. The Dutch drivers will compete against USA¹s Chester Weber and Germany¹s Rainer Duen, who are currently in fifth and sixth position in the World Cup standings.
They can expect strong competition from home drivers Werner Ulrich, Daniël Würgler and Stefan Kläy. Both Würgler and Kläy received a wild card from the organisation. Würgler qualified for the Indoor World Cup last season and was very successful in Bordeaux (2nd place), Vigo-tryout competition (2nd place) and Göteborg (2nd place).
For Stefan Klaÿ, the young driver from Zäziwil, it will be his first World Cup experience. Kläy has proved in the past two years to be a very successful outdoor marathon driver. He won the marathon of the CAI Wachtebeke and was fourth in the marathon at the World Championships in Jerez de la Frontera. The warm up competition of the third leg of the World Cup takes place in the Palexpo building on Friday 13 December at 22.20 hrs.
The World Cup competition is scheduled on Sunday 15 December at 12.00 hrs. As in Stuttgart, the best three drivers will compete in a winning round after each competition. Furthermore, the drivers will enter the arena on Saturday evening at 22.45 hrs for a knock out competition.
Two competitors will drive two identical courses at the same time and the driver with the fastest time and the least time faults will win this extra competition, which does not count for the World Cup. The leader of the standings, Tomas Eriksson from Sweden, will not compete in Geneva. The next show on the agenda of Eriksson and the number two of the standings Michael Freund, will be Leipzig from 23 to 27 January 2003.
The World Cup Driving in Geneva will be broadcasted on Swiss Television (DRS, TSI and TSR) on Sunday, 15 December after the FEI World Cup Jumping.
Created in 2001, the Driving World Cup has provided an innovative new style of competition for indoor events, with courses combining marathon and cone driving obstacles. The 2002/2003 season of the World Cup includes nine events: Stuttgart (GER), Stockholm (SWE), Geneva (SUI), Mechelen (BEL) in 2002; Leipzig (GER), Bordeaux (FRA), Vigo (ESP), Os-Hertogenbosch (NED) and Göteborg (SWE) in 2003. The Top 5 Four-in-Hand drivers of the standings after the first eight events will compete in the last event in Göteborg from 27 to 30 March 2003.
The 2001/2002 World Cup Champion is Michael Freund (GER).
Press contact Geneva International Horse Show:
Corinne Druey, telephone press center (as from 12 December, 12.00 hrs.): +41 22 761 1761, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org