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Chardon wins FEI World Cup Driving  in Hanover
6 November 2004

Dutch four-in-hand driver IJsbrand Chardon has caused a sensation during the season opening event of the FEI World Cup Driving Series in Hannover, Germany. The triple World Champion won this first competition by beating his strongest opponent and triple World Cup winner, Michael Freund.

"I had a good feeling about my horses this morning and luckily it proved to be a good sign," explained a relieved Chardon. "During yesterday?s qualifier I set the fastest time, but partly because of the very difficult course, I knocked down five balls. That made me extra motivated today."

The course, designed by German course builder Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf, was adjusted a little this afternoon, which was positive for Chardon. Where this year?s Bronze World Championship medal winner went clear in both the first round and the winning round, his strongest opponent Michael Freund made mistakes.

Freund, the reigning World Champion is awaiting final results of the B-test of the positive medication control of one of his horses at the World Championships in Hungary. When Freund is disqualified, this will not affect his participation in the World Cup. Only when the FEI decides to suspend him, another driver will take his place at the remaining shows. Freund did set the fastest time in today?s round, supported by the enthusiastic Hannover spectators, but had 15 penalty seconds added to his score for knocked down balls.

It was not the first time that wild card driver Christoph Sandmann entered the arena in Hannover. In previous years, he and Michael Freund had treated the audience to an indoor marathon as part of the show programme. Sandmann, who had brought his fan club to Hannover, drove a steady course and was satisfied with his third place.

Sweden?s Tomas Eriksson came fourth after missing a gate in one of the marathon obstacles, which cost him precious seconds. American Chester Weber finished fifth, ahead of Hungary's Jozsef Dobrovitz, who had bad luck today. The reins of his wheeler horses became fouled, which prevented him from equalling his good result in yesterday?s qualifying competition where he came second.

This was the first time that Hannover hosted the FEI World Cup Driving. World Cup director Max Ammann was very positive about the new venue and predicted that Hannover will probably become one of the best shows.

The next FEI World Cup driving event takes place in Stuttgart, Germany, on 19 and 20 November 2004.

For all results and current points standings in the 2004-5 FEI World Cup, please CLICK HERE.

The official World Cup website is at www.worldcupdriving.com

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 2004/2005 season of the World Cup includes seven competitions: Hannover (GER), Stuttgart (GER), Stockholm (SWE), Mechelen (BEL) in 2004; Leipzig (GER), 's-Hertogenbosch (NED) and G?eborg (SWE) in 2005. The top 5 after 6 events will qualify for the 7th event in G?eborg. The winner of the first three seasons of the World Cup was Michael Freund (GER).

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