World Cup "Try-out" in Budapest
9 December 2007
From: F??ation Equestre Internationale, Lausanne
Photo by: Hippoevent

The Sports Arena in Hungary?s capital city Budapest was the stage of a trial World Cup Driving competition this weekend. Eleven drivers, amongst which were the best indoor competitors at the moment, Australia?s Boyd Exell and Dutchman IJsbrand Chardon, put up  perfect performances.

Thousands of enthusiastic visitors contributed to the success of this Carriage Driving Festival. The Hungarian hospitality and the endless support of the Hungarian crowd for the driving sport gave, together with the perfect organisation, a special atmosphere to this event. Course designer Gabor Fintha, who is also chef d'Equipe of the Hungarian drivers, had designed a technical but fair to drive course. It also included spectacular fireworks as the drivers crossed the bridge.

The competitors fought for every second and IJsbrand Chardon was crowned winner on the last evening. Chardon competed with a borrowed team of Lipizzaner horses from his Hungarian colleague Jozsef Dobrovitz, who drove two of the horses in the FEI World Cup? Driving competitions in Hannover and Stuttgart this year. Chardon only drove this team once on Friday evening and came second in the first competition after a close battle with Exell. Exell drove his own team, with which he won the FEI World Cup Driving? competition in Stockholm last weekend.

In the unofficial World Cup competition on Sunday, top drivers Exell, Chardon and the crowd?s favourite Zoltan L?? from Hungary gave everything they had in a spectacular winning round. Chardon stole the hearts of the Hungarian spectators after he managed to beat the fastest times of the previous night. ?It is just great to be able to compete here with this team and to win is even more fantastic,? said a very enthusiastic Chardon, who promised to come back to Budapest next year when the event is officially included in the FEI World Cup? Driving calendar. ?But only if I can drive this team again! I am treated here as if I have become World Champion, it is simply amazing. The horses went even better than the first night and I owe a big thank you to the Dobrovitz Family who have given me such wonderful horses to drive. ? Despite his success with the Lipizzaner team in Budapest, Chardon will stick to his own team of horses to compete in the next FEI World Cup? Driving competition in Mechelen and the Final in Leipzig.

Zoltan L?? put the speed up once more in the winning round, but was unable to beat Chardon?s times. The 2004 World Champion was very pleased with his performance: ?My horses were in good shape and especially my left leader horse did a great job and really contributed to my second place. It is a wonderful experience to compete in front of my home crowd in such a wonderful atmosphere.?

Boyd Exell, the current leader of the FEI World Cup? Driving standings, tried a different combination in the lead of his team, but he admitted that it did not work out for him on Sunday evening: ?The course was all left-left-left except for two turns to the right. I swapped my horses around to anticipate this, but I had less control over my team and I was a bit over accurate.? Exell dropped a ball and also missed a gate. He had to make a complete circle, which cost him precious seconds and dropped him to third place.

Amongst the competitors in Budapest, who altogether won 34 World Championship medals, was also the reigning World Champion Felix Brasseur from Belgium. Brasseur competed with the Lipizzaner team of his compatriot Geert De Brauwer, who owns a Lipizzaner stud farm.

The organisation of the Budapest Horse Show has proved to be able to organize a perfect driving event, much supported by an enormous amount of spectators and is looking forward to receiving the official FEI World Cup? Driving status in 2008.

Results CAI-W TRIAL Budapest:
1. Ijsbrand Chardon (Ned) 235.81
2. Zoltan L?? (Hun) 249.36
3. Boyd Exell (Aus) 250.78
4. Atilla Bardos (Hun) 138.11
5. Lajos Moro (Hun) 151.27
6. Csaba Vaczi (Hun) 156.43
7. Josef Leibetseder (Aut) 166.45
8. Felix Brasseur (Bel) 168.27
9. Laszlo Juhasz (Hun) 170.78
10. Christian Schl?elhofer (Aut) 173.90
11. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 191.44

Keep track of the World Cup on our website
The lists of drivers, results and points standings will be shown on our website as the competitions take place. Information is also available on the performance of the individual drivers. CLICK HERE for the 2007-8 Driving World Cup drivers, dates and venues.