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|Michael Freund wins 2003 World Cup
30 March 2003
Germany's Michael Freund has renewed his World Cup title after the final competition this evening in the crowded Scandinavium arena in G?eborg. After four wins in the 2002/3 series, the World Champion was already certain of his victory before even starting in the final.
It was his fellow countryman Christoph Sandmann who claimed the first place in the last competition of the series. British based Australian driver Boyd Exell came third in today's competition and became the runner-up World Cup Champion of the season, only one point ahead of Germany's of Christoph Sandmann.
In fourth place was Mark Weusthof who experienced difficulties with one of his leader horses, both yesterday in the warm-up and today in the main competition and was not able to turn up the speed in his team. But the tall Dutch driver was nevertheless very pleased with his fourth place in the final standings of his first World Cup season.
Freund's Global Driving Team member Boyd Exell felt the pressure on his shoulders this evening. The Australian driver set a fast time of 83 seconds, but knocked down two cones and lost his chances for the victory. Michael Freund, the unbeaten winner of this season, was last to go and gave everything to beat Sandmann's time of 85.5 seconds. He came very close to winning his fifth competition as well, but a knocked down ball prevented that.
Only for the second time in his World Cup career, Freund finished in second place. Last year it was IJsbrand Chardon who beat Freund in the World Cup competition in Dortmund.
Christoph Sandmann proved to be strong during yesterday's warm up competition where he ended in second place. Tonight, the silver medal winner of Jerez de la Frontera started before Freund and was the only driver who managed to drive a clear and fast course. Sandmann was very satisfied with his performance: "I had a very good feeling about my horses so I could drive very secure. I am also very happy that I have finally beaten Freund!"
Swedish wild card driver Fredrik Persson drove a fantastic round but had fifteen penalty points added to his time. His popular fellow countryman Tomas Eriksson was first to go this evening, but the enthusiastic crowd made such an impression on the double World Champion that he drove a wrong course and was eliminated. He finished in fifth place in the final standings.
The final World Cup standings for the 2002/3 season are as follows:
The FEI World Cup Driving will start its third season in the autumn. At the moment, Stuttgart, Stockholm, Mechelen, Leipzig, Bordedaux, Vigo, 's-Hertogenbosch and G?eborg will be part of the series again. Geneva will be replaced by another event.
More information on World Cup Driving is also available from www.worldcupdriving.com