FEI World Cup Driving
2008/9 Series gets under way
20 October 2008

Witnessing the successes of the FEI World Cup? Jumping (introduced in 1978) and the FEI World Cup? Dressage (introduced in 1985), the International Driving Community contemplated for some years the creation of a World Cup for Driving. It was not until 2000, following the extensive work carried out by a Driving Think Tank, which evaluated the future of the Driving Sport from communication, marketing and promotion aspects, that the creation for an Indoor World Cup for four-in-hand drivers, to start in November 2001, became a reality.

The space limitations of the normal indoor events, either a sports arena or an exhibition arena, highlighted the need for a special set of rules under which the FEI World Cup? Driving would be run. These included the removal of the dressage phase and the combination of both the marathon and obstacle (cones) phases to produce the one and exhilarating course involving both marathon and cones driving obstacles.

The qualification procedure takes place at especially selected summer events and the best ten drivers from the standings after the last qualifier are then invited to select the FEI World Cup? Driving competitions they will attend during the winter season.

The first years, the FEI World Cup? Driving consisted of events in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain. In 2007, Hungary, one of the largest driving nations, successfully organised a try-out competition and has now been officially added to the calendar for the eighth season of the FEI World Cup? Driving in 2008/2009.

The first three years, Germany?s Michael Freund, one of the founders of the FEI World Cup? Driving, dominated the series. Freund largely contributed to the success of the FEI World Cup? Driving with his thrilling rides, his charm and his ability to make the spectators enormously enthusiastic. But after three years, the competition was edging ever so much closer to Freund which led in 2004/2005 to a thrilling Final between Michael Freund and his strongest opponent IJsbrand Chardon. They battled hard but it ended on a tie, and the two drivers had to share the FEI World Cup? title as the Final, at that time, was awarded with points rather than from start to scratch.

That was changed the next season and that year, it was Chardon who ruled the Final and was crowned FEI World Cup? Champion. Michael Freund ended his career as an active four-in-hand driver after the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2006. He was not qualified for the FEI World Cup? Driving season 2006/2007 but he received several wild cards, won two competitions, qualified for the Final and then went on to beat IJsbrand Chardon once again. In the FEI World Cup? Driving season 2007/2008 it was Freund?s compatriot Christoph Sandmann who wrote history by winning the Final in Leipzig having been invited as a wild card.

Sweden?s city of G?eborg hosted the Final ever since the start of the FEI World Cup? Driving in 2001, however, in 2008 the Final was allocated to Leipzig in Germany as G?eborg was already hosting the Rolex FEI World Cup? Jumping Final.

The 2008/2009 season will comprise 7 qualifiers and culminate in the much awaited final in G?eborg where the best six drivers of the standings after the last competition in Leipzig will battle for the prestigious FEI World Cup? title?

News article from: F??ation Equestre Internationale, Lausanne

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 2008-9 World Cup drivers, dates and venues.

More information also from the official World Cup website: www.feiworldcup.org