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Michael Freund wins first World Cup 2002/3 round in Stuttgart
23 November 2002

The 2002/3 series of the indoor Driving World Cup got under way in Stuttgart, Germany on 22nd and 23rd November. 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 ten highest placed drivers in the FEI Four-in-hand Top Driver table are invited to take part in the World Cup series, which comprises eight events at different venues in Europe.  Each driver must choose four events at which he wishes to compete. This means that there are five drivers competing at each event and they are supplemented by a sixth "wild card" driver, who is invited locally. After all eight events have taken place, the five highest placed drivers will go through to the finals at Goteborg in Sweden on 30 March 2003.

The Stuttgart German Masters hosted the first event of the Indoor World Cup Driving 2002/3 series at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle. Germany?s Michael Freund has proved to be a true German Four-in-Hand Master by winning  in Stuttgart for the second consecutive time. Freund showed his excellent driving skills once again in the final winning round of the World Cup competition. The World Champion of 1994 revised his course and passed the finish line eleven seconds faster than his fellow countryman Christoph Sandmann.

Freund is very enthusiastic about the event: ? Stuttgart is for me the Aachen of the indoor competitions. The public is fantastic and this gives the drivers and the driving sport a very positive impulse.?

Silver medal winner Christoph Sandmann made use of the enthusiastic crowd: ?I had some problems with my carriage yesterday, but that was solved this morning. Thanks to the crowd I performed very well today. I must admit that I was hoping that I would not have to compete against Michael Freund in the World Cup series because he is such a strong competitor, but I can now live with my second place!?

Chester Weber from the USA collected his first 3 points by finishing in third place. ?I am very satisfied about my rounds. I feel that if I end in the top three at every competition, I can hunt for the World Cup title.? Weber, who drove his own wheeler horses, took the opportunity to thank Michael Freund for lending him the leaders of his team.

Germany?s Peter Tischer, who received the wild card entry from the organisers, put down excellent performances. After coming second in the warm up competition, the driver from Hessen qualified for the winning round of the World Cup. Remarkably, both Weber and Tischer set the same result in the World Cup competition, so four drivers went on to the winning round. Tischer unfortunately knocked down three cones and ended in fourth place, but was still very satisfied. ?I gave everything I had and I have had a lot of fun?, says Tischer.

Switzerland?s Werner Ulrich and Sweden?s Tomas Eriksson took the fifth and sixth place. Eriksson was unlucky in the warm-up competition when his leaders knocked over the bridge. He changed his leaders for the World Cup competition, but made two faults.

The World Cup results and points standings are available on this website in the Events and Points Leagues sections.

The German Masters in Stuttgart website is at www.stuttgart-german-masters.de where pictures from a web-cam can be accessed throughout the event. More information on World Cup Driving is available from www.worldcupdriving.com