Boyd Exell was the winner of the first FEI World Cup™ Driving in Hannover

Boyd Exell was the winner of the first FEI World Cup™ Driving in Hannover

Australia’s Boyd Exell has won the first competition of the FEI World Cup™ Driving season 2007/2008 in Hannover, Germany and has taken the lead in the standings. Dutchman Ijsbrand Chardon came second, ahead of home driver and wild card competitor Christoph Sandmann.

The Hannover German Classics Horse Show offered a perfect atmosphere for the seven competitors. The course, designed by World Championship course designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf from Germany, was tight but fair and the enthusiastic spectators cheered the drivers until the very last moment.

It was Boyd Exell who took home the first ten World Cup points and made the first move towards a starting ticket for the Final. Exell decided to use Bill, a new horse formerly owned by Christoph Sandmann and Michael Freund, in the lead. Although Bill did not meet Exell’s expectations in the warm up competition, the allround horseman decided to give the gelding another chance in the World Cup competition. Some adjustments were made to the bridle and the results were amazing. Despite an extra loop for not having passed a gate completely, Exell qualified for the winning round: “It was not easy for me to have confidence after yesterday’s result, but I felt I had nothing to loose, only to gain. I wanted to put as much pressure on the other drivers as possible so I took a lot of risks in the winning round.” Exell knocked two cones down but his time was very fast. “It was my lucky day today. The competitors field in Hannover is the strongest of the season together with Stuttgart and Stockholm, so I am very pleased to have won this competition.”

Triple World Champion Ijsbrand Chardon had a small miscommunication with his horses in the winning round, which cost him precious seconds: “I feel that my horses are in good form, but they didn’t show it this week end. But that is the sport; you take risks and you have some bad luck. I will use the same team at the next FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Stuttgart and I am convinced that the form will be back then.”

Wild card driver Christoph Sandmann, who used his summer outdoor team, encountered some difficulties in the course:

“I don’t know what was wrong with my horses, but they just didn’t want to go into one corner so I knocked two balls down. Other than that I am very pleased with my performance. I will not receive World Cup points since I competed with a wild card, but I don’t mind. I already have an invitation to compete in the Final in Leipzig, so I am the only driver so far who is certain of a starting place!”

Hungary’s Zoltan Lázár drove a concentrated round with his team of Lipizzaner horses and came fourth, ahead of second wild card competitor Bernhard Wendt jr. Wendt received the wild card by winning the extra competition in Hannover on Friday in which five German four-in-hand drivers competed. His used his old team of grey Hanoverian geldings in order to spare his outdoor horses.

Daniël Würgler used a young horse in the lead of his team, which consists of Kladruber and Czech horses. Würgler, who will compete in FEI World Cup™ Driving competition at his home soil in Geneva, Switzerland, with a wild card, came sixth in Hannover.

Jozsef Dobrovitz from Hungary had to use a spare horse since one one of his horses suffered from a fever. The sympathetic driver was noticeably nervous and despite his performance at top speed, he knocked too many balls down to end in the top.

Results (28.10.07)

CAI-W Hannover:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 256.02
2. Ijsbrand Chardon (Ned) 261.35
3. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 262.48
4. Zoltan Lázár (Hun) 135.95
5. Bernhard Wendt jr. (Ger) 147.27
6. Daniël Würgler (Sui) 150.38
7. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 157.52

Classification after 1 of 7 events:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 10
2. Ijsbrand Chardon (Ned) 7
3. Zoltan Lázár (Hun) 5
4. Daniël Würgler (Sui) 3
5. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 2

Categories: Driving, News