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Michael Freund is the new FEI World Cup? Driving Champion!
25 Feb 2007

Germany?s Michael Freund could not have dreamed of a better ending to his active driving career than winning the 2007 FEI World Cup? Driving Final in G?eborg, which was presented by Volvo. After a thrilling winning round, Freund passed the finish line just 0.6 seconds ahead of title defender IJsbrand Chardon and was crowned FEI World Cup? Driving Champion for the fifth time in his career.

Michael Freund, Christoph Sandmann and IJsbrand Chardon had qualified for the winning round and the 8000 spectators in the Scandinavium arena closely followed their performances. Swedish course designer Dan Henriksson had built a challenging course with technical and speedy aspects, which was much praised by the six finalists.

Chardon was first to go and gave everything he had to put pressure on the two German drivers. Both Freund and Sandmann had qualified for the FEI World Cup? Driving Final by performing well in the previous events with wild cards.

Sandmann was next to go and was well on his way to ensure a Top Two placing, but he knocked a ball off the last gate and dropped to third place. Freund knew he had two choices. Either drive safely and stay clear or risk everything. ?I risked everything the last two years in Gothenburg, so I decided to go for the first option,? explained a smiling Freund. ?The results of my fellow competitors were so close together that I realized that I could not make any mistakes.? Freund drove a perfect clear round, but was so concentrated that he did not notice that the clock was ticking away. Only when he passed the finish and looked on the scoreboard he realized how close it was!

Dutch driver Koos de Ronde just missed a ticket for the winning round when he knocked one ball down in the first round. ?My horses went well and I am very pleased with my new lead horse. My leaders are so fast now that my wheelers cannot follow. I will consider using my outdoor horses in the wheel if I qualify for the FEI World Cup? Driving again next season.?

Home driver Tomas Eriksson made a small mistake in the first round but was nevertheless pleased with his fifth place. ?In this close competition, no mistakes are allowed. I totally blame myself because my horses went well,? explains the double World Champion. Hungary?s Jozsef Dobrovitz came sixth, using two new Dutch warm blood horses in the wheel.

Results FEI World Cup? Driving Final season 2006/2007 Gothenburg (Swe):
1. Michael Freund (Ger) 225.29
2. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 225.86
3. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 227.01
4. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 116.82
5. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 118.48
6. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 134.26

FEI World Cup? Driving Champions 2002-2006:
2002: Michael Freund (Ger)
2003: Michael Freund (Ger)
2004: Michael Freund (Ger)
2005: Michael Freund (Ger) and IJsbrand Chardon (Ned)
2006: IJsbrand Chardon (Ned)
2007: Michael Freund (Ger)


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

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 Sara Holmgren