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|Freund wins in Leipzig
22 January 2006
Michael Freund has won the sixth leg of the FEI World Cup Driving in Leipzig, making this his third win in three events and securing his place firmly at the top of the World Cup points table.
Leipzig hosted the sixth and decisive round of the FEI World Cup Driving on Sunday afternoon. Over 8,000 spectators witnessed a very exciting competition in the Leipziger Messe Halle.
Although Michael Freund, the indoor-master, could not get his horses in their usual rhythm and speed, the reigning World Champion turned out to be the coolest driver in Leipzig.
"The competitors field in Leipzig is the strongest field of this season and it was very interesting to compete against each other," commented Freund. "The time differences between the numbers one to four was just six seconds in the warm-up, so it was a challenge to drive even faster in the World Cup competition."
Freund qualified for the winning round, as well as his compatriot Christoph Sandmann and IJsbrand Chardon. There was a lot at stake for Sandmann and his fellow-drivers Fredrik Persson and Koos de Ronde, who tied in fifth place of the standings before Leipzig. If Sandmann wio, he would have climbed to fifth place in the standings and got a ticket for the final in Gothenburg. But that would also mean that Persson and De Ronde would lose their starting place in the final.
Although the technical course suited Sandmann and he drove his best competition of the season, luck was not on Sandmann?s side in Leipzig. "During the warm up competition, the course was slightly different and offered a little more space in one of the marathon obstacles. The course was a bit tighter today and in the winning round I decided to take Friday?s route. And I should not have done that", said Sandmann. The 38-year old driver knocked an element down and those penalty seconds kept him from victory and a starting place in Gothenburg. But Sandmann was nevertheless satisfied with his performance: "I would have loved to go to Gothenburg but on the other hand I don?t mind that I am not going. My outdoor season starts in a couple of weeks and I want to fully concentrate on the World Championships in Aachen."
IJsbrand Chardon saw his chances to victory disappear when one of the reins slipped through his fingers and his horses went the wrong way. Two knockdowns and loss of precious time made him end in third place.
Mechelen-winner Werner Ulrich missed the winning round by two seconds but has secured his starting place for the final, as well as Tomas Eriksson, who came fifth in Leipzig.
Being the last wild card driver of the season, Germany?s Steffen Scholz had a difficult task. But the driver from Langenbernsdorf drove his team of German bred horses enthusiastically and fluently through the obstacles and was well awarded with a huge applause from his home crowd.
Seven drivers will compete in the Final of the FEI World Cup Driving in Gothenburg on 16 April. Both Koos de Ronde (Ned) and Fredrik Persson (Swe) share the sixth place.
The organisation allows seven drivers to start in the Final. The other qualified drivers are: Michael Freund (Ger), IJsbrand Chardon (Ned), Zoltan Lazar (Hun), Werner Ulrich (Sui) and Tomas Eriksson (Swe).
The drivers will start from scratch, which means the form of the day will most probably play an important role in the performances. Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf, who was also responsible for the courses in Hannover and Leipzig, will design the course.
Results CAI-W Leipzig:
CLICK HERE for the full results, together with the list of drivers, venues and points tables.
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 2005/2006 season of the World Cup includes seven competitions: Hanover (GER), Stuttgart (GER), Stockholm (SWE), Geneva (SUI), Mechelen (BEL) in 2005; Leipzig (GER) and G?eborg (SWE) in 2006. The top 6 after 6 events will qualify for the 7th event in G?eborg.
The full rules of the FEI World Cup for the 2005/6 season are available - CLICK HERE
More information can also be found on the official FEI World Cup Driving website at www.worldcupdriving.com