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Lucky 13 for Freund in Stuttgart
18 November 2006

Germany?s Michael Freund has won the second leg of the FEI World Cup? Driving in Stuttgart, Germany, which was presented by Schenker. His golden team-mate at the World Championships in Aachen, Christoph Sandmann, came second in the thrilling competition.

It was Michael Freund?s thirteenth consecutive win in Stuttgart, which has hosted indoor driving since 1994 and the FEI World Cup? Driving since 2001. It was also Freund?s last performance in Stuttgart as an active driver and the crowd enthusiastically cheered him during the whole competition.

The Saturday afternoon of the Stuttgart German Masters had been sold out for months because of its attractive programme, which included the driving competition. The organising committee was proud to announce that 8,560 spectators were present in the Schleyer Halle this afternoon, a new record.

Both Freund and Sandmann did not qualify for this year's the FEI World Cup? Driving during the outdoor season, but received wild cards in Hannover and Stuttgart.

All seven drivers started in the first round, but only Germany?s Christoph Sandmann passed the finish line with a really well driven clear round and went into the lead. Both Freund and Hungary?s Jozsef Dobrovitz also qualified for the winning round, which took place over a shortened course. Dobrovitz, who drove his team of young Lipizzaner horses, had two knockdowns and came third. He was nevertheless pleased with this result and noticed some positive changes in his team, which was only competing in their second World Cup competition.

Freund was second to go and took a lot of risk to put the pressure on Sandmann. But even though he knocked an element over of one of the multiple obstacles, he managed to set an extremely fast time. Christoph Sandmann was unable to get his team in the same spirit as the first round and when he knocked a ball off, he knew the honours were going to go to his friend Freund.

?After the first round I thought I was not going to win this competition,? explained Freund. ?I knew that the time had come that someone else would win this competition and if it could not be me, I hoped the victory would go to Sandmann.? But Freund did it again, and the 52-year old driver was extremely pleased to win his last show in Stuttgart in front of the very heartily audience.

Sandmann, who has caused an unusual situation by taking the lead in the standings despite being a wild card driver, was happy with his second place: ?I have a very good team and I am pleased Michael has won as he deserved to win during his last performance here. It was good sport and that is the most important.?

Belgium?s Gert Schrijvers started his fourth FEI World Cup? Driving season in Stuttgart in fourth place. His seven-year-old Arab-Friesian horses went a little too slow, but Schrijvers was pleased with their performance and is looking forward to their next show.

Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands also started his World Cup season in Stuttgart and presented a special team of horses. To spare his outdoor team, he used two piebald horses from his father in the wheel, while a grey gelding from his mother and a bay warm blood from his brother formed the leaders. The team needs a little more experience and De Ronde will try a different set up at home because the fifth place in Stuttgart did not meet his expectations.

Hungary?s Atilla Bardos and Laszlo Juhasz came sixth and seventh. Both drivers will use the same horses at their next competition in order to give them as much experience as possible.

Results CAI-W Stuttgart:
1. Michael Freund (Ger) 252.38
2. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 259.04
3. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 289.95
4. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 146.50
5. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 147.14
6. Atilla Bardos (Hun) 151.06
7. Laszlo Juhasz (Hun) 177.93

Classification after 2 of 7 events:
1. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 14
2. Michael Freund (Ger) 12
3. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 10
4. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 8
5. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 5
6. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 6
7. Laszlo Juhasz (Hun) 2
7. Atilla Bardos (Hun) 2
7. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 2


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      Photo by Karl-Heinz Frieler