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FEI World Cup Driving in Leipzig
21 January 2007

IJsbrand Chardon was too strong for his opponent Michael Freund in the FEI World Cup? Driving competition in Leipzig, Germany. "I let Chardon win here, so I hope he will let me win in Gothenburg!" joked Freund afterwards. Both drivers set the tone for an amazing atmosphere in Leipzig where they continuously, and with success, involved the very enthusiastic spectators in the exciting competition.

It was a battle between the two best indoor drivers of the moment in Leipzig, although Sweden?s Tomas Eriksson tried very hard to put the pressure on Freund and Chardon. The three former World Champions qualified for the winning round and although the competitors were not over-enthusiastic about Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf?s technical course on the first day, they all drove very nice rounds in the actual FEI World Cup? competition.

Eriksson was determined to give the FEI World Cup? winners a hard time, but one of his reins got caught and he was forced to drive an extra circle in one of the marathon obstacles. He lost precious seconds but was nevertheless pleased with his third place.

Freund entered the sold out arena of the Partner Pferd event just two seconds behind Chardon and was encouraged by the cheering crowd. But the triple FEI World Cup? winner knocked two balls down and increased the gap between him and Chardon, who could now start a little more relaxed in the winning round.

?I accidentally knocked a ball down in the first round, but my horses went so fast that I still ended up ahead of Freund. I knew my horses could do it so I just had to stay focussed and concentrated", explained Chardon. The Aachen silver medallist started quite calm, but his team accelerated during the course and he finished with a clear round. Chardon confirms with this victory not only his starting place in the Final, but also the perfect shape he and his team are in. He will start in Amsterdam next week with a wild card and according to the rules, he cannot win World Cup points there. But knowing Chardon, he will go for another victory, points or no points.

Although Swiss drivers Ulrich and W?gler did not seem to be able to find their shape in the warm up competition, they put down better performances in the World Cup competition.

Werner Ulrich drove a nice clear round and came fourth. Ulrich has, like Eriksson, just one more event in Amsterdam to go and he will try to finish ahead of Eriksson in order to be able to qualify for the Final.

Daniel W?gler, who was unlucky in Geneva where he tipped over, left the young horse he used in Stockholm and Geneva in his box in Leipzig and used a more experience Kladruber horse instead. This decision brought him a clear round and a fifth place. W?gler has finished his three FEI World Cup? competitions in 11th place and is already looking forward to the green season.

Germany?s Steffen Scholz and Christoph Sandmann had, as well as Freund, received a wild card. Scholz, who lives in the Leipzig area, is a regular World Cup wild card competitor in Leipzig and he thoroughly enjoyed competing. ?I try to drive fast, but I also want it to look good!? commented Scholz, who was pleased with his sixth place.

Sandmann was less fortunate than in Hannover and Stuttgart, where he came second. The German gold team medallist was driving a very fast and so far clear round, but on his way to the last gate, he went through one of the previous gates and was eliminated.

Chardon?s Dutch compatriot Theo Timmerman used a new leader horse in his team, but this could not prevent him from leaving the arena with 25 penalty seconds behind his name. Timmerman came seventh in his second FEI World Cup? competition.

With one more competition to go, the standings are still led by IJsbrand Chardon and Michael Freund. Koos de Ronde and Tomas Eriksson are sharing the third position and are also already qualified for the Final. After the next leg of the FEI World Cup? Driving in Amsterdam on 25 and 26 January, it will be clear who are the top six competitors who will compete in the Final, which takes place in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 24 and 25 February.

Results CAI-W Leipzig:
1. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 238.10
2. Michael Freund (Ger) 249.40
3. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 271.49
4. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 132.21
5. Daniel W?gler (Sui) 133.60
6. Steffen Scholz (Ger) 141.17
7. Theo Timmerman (Ned) 154.53
8. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) el.

Classification after 6 of 7 events:
1. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 27
1. Michael Freund (Ger) 27
3. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 17
3. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 17
5. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 15
5. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 15
7. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 11
8. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 8
9. Benjamin Aillaud (Fra) 7
10. Atilla Bardos (Hun) 5
11. Dani? W?gler (Sui) 4
12. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 3
12. Laszlo Juhasz (Hun) 3
12. Theo Timmerman (Ned) 3
15. Geert Debrauwer (Bel) 2
16. Steffen Scholz (Ger) 1



CLICK HERE for the full results, together with the list of drivers, venues and points tables.

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  & Hoefnet. Photo by Karl-Heinz Frieler