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World Cup driving kicks off in Hannover
29 October 2006

Sweden?s Tomas Eriksson has won the first leg of the 2006/7 FEI World Cup? Driving season at the German Classics Horse Show in Hannover. Germany?s Christoph Sandmann came second in the exciting competition, ahead of title defender IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands.

It is the second consecutive time that Eriksson has won in Hannover and the double World Champion was obviously very pleased: ?I really enjoy this competition and I believe we gave a very good show today.? International course designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf had designed a superb course. Not too technical and nice to watch for the enthusiastic spectators in the Hannover Messe.

Eriksson drove a clear first round and finished just one second behind Chardon. Chardon started off very fast but knocked a ball off in the first multiple obstacle. He put up the speed even more, but after two more balls had fallen, his hopes for victory were gone. This took some of the pressure of Eriksson?s shoulders, but he knew he had to stay ahead of Sandmann, who was performing very well. Eriksson finished in a total time of 205.22 seconds, including one knock down.

Golden World Champion team medallists Christoph Sandmann and Michael Freund had received wild cards from the organisation. Sandmann already had a good start of the show by winning the warm up competition and was determined to win the World Cup competition as well. He was well underway with his team of bay geldings and it looked as if he was driving towards his victory, but he unfortunately knocked a ball of the last gate. ?It was great to win yesterday and I knew I had to take more risks today, but I am very pleased with the second place,? commented Sandmann, who as well as Freund received a wild card for the next FEI World Cup? Driving competition in Stuttgart.

The fourth place went to Hungary?s Jozsef Dobrovitz, who drove a clear round with his team of Lipizzaner horses, but missed a little speed to qualify for the winning round. Michael Freund was in Hannover to say goodbye to the spectators. ?Hannover is one of the events who have always supported me. I will say ?Tschuss? to the crowd in Stuttgart and Leipzig as well. Those events mean a lot to me. I don?t say goodbye forever, I might be back as a groom for my son Marco in the future!?

Hungarian World Cup? debutants Laszlo Juhasz and Atilla Bardos drove well, but they clearly lacked indoor driving experience. Both drivers and their teams need some time to get connection to the top, who are currently driving at top speed level.

Paul Schockem?le Logistics adopted the competition in Hannover for the third time. Schockem?le himself was thrilled by the speed and excitement of the driving competition. His wife Bettina took the decision to support the World Cup? again in Hannover and hopes are high that they will take a positive decision for the 2007 edition of the German Classics in Hannover.

Results CAI-W Hannover:
1. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 205.22
2. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 207.46
3. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 212.22
4. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 108.61
5. Michael Freund (Ger) 115.45
6. Laszlo Juhasz (Hun) 119.00
7. Atilla Bardos (Hun) 128.50

The next FEI World Cup? driving event takes place in Stuttgart, Germany, on 17 and 18 November 2006.


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 eight competitions: Hanover (GER), Stuttgart (GER), Stockholm (SWE), Geneva (SUI), Mechelen (BEL), Leipzig (GER) and Amsterdam (NED). The top 5 drivers after the first 7 events will qualify for the final at G?eborg (SWE).

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

Information supplied by the FEI