Exell wins in Budapest
07 December 2008

Australia?s Boyd Exell has won the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup? Driving in Budapest after two magnificent rounds. Dutchman Koos de Ronde was last to go in the winning round but finished,  despite a very well driven course, just one second short of Exell?s fast time. Sweden?s Fredrik Persson was the third driver who qualified for the drive-off, but was unable to equal the speed of his competitors and came third.

This was the first time the L?zl?Papp Sportarena in Budapest hosted an official FEI World Cup? Driving competition. The driving minded Hungarian spectators visited the show in large numbers during two days of competition. Course designer G?or F?tha, who is also the Chef d'Equipe of the Hungarian drivers, was much complimented on his fluent course. The fireworks on the bridge which went off after every competitor crossed added to the terrific atmosphere in Hungary?s capital city.

Wild cards
The organising committee in Budapest had allocated three wild cards for this top event. Stockholm winner and current leader of the standings J?sef Dobrovitz is making a true World Cup Tour at the moment. The 40-year-old driver from the nearby village of Vecs? went to Hannover, Stuttgart, Stockholm, Budapest and will drive his last competition in Geneva next weekend. The Hungarian driver had some bad luck today in the World Cup competition. He knocked a ball from the first cone and missed a gate in the marathon obstacle, which cost him precious seconds. The winner of the bronze team medal came fifth today, but as a wild card driver he does not receive World Cup points so his leading position was not endangered. Hungarian Champion Lajos M?o drove his team of Lipizzaner horses to the sixth place in Budapest. Hungarian newcomer and third wild card driver Peter Juhasz (not related to former World Champion L?zlo J?asz) was unable to keep up with the high level of indoor driving and finished last with his mixed team of KWPN and Westphalian horses.

Too fast
Switzerland?s Daniel W?gler started his World Cup season in Budapest and used two new horses in the lead. Despite several knockdowns, W?gler was pleased with his seventh place. ?I noticed improvement in my leaders compared to the first night and I will get a second chance next week end in Geneva,? commented professional coachman W?gler. Like his compatriot Dobrovitz, Zoltan L?? also lost precious seconds in a marathon obstacle when he went too fast and missed a gate. He had to stop his team to make them go in the right direction again. L?? finished his last FEI World Cup? Driving event in fourth place with 7 points, which unfortunately takes him out for the Final in which the best 6 drivers will start.

High standard
Although Fredrik Persson from Sweden has competed in several FEI World Cup? Driving events with a wild card, the 2008/2009 season is his first full World Cup season. In Stockholm he came second and in Budapest he drove very well again with his mixed team of Swedish, German and French Trotter and qualified for the winning round in which he came third.

Boyd Exell (Aus): ?The tactics of Koos de Ronde in the first round were very good, he forced Dobrovitz and myself to go fast. When I saw Dobrovitz? performance was not so good, I knew I had to drive steady and not make any mistakes. In the winning round I had the chance to take a short cut. I knew it was very risky but I learned from Michael Freund that less meters is less time so I went for it. As in Stockholm, my team felt better on the second day and I believe I have all the settings right at the moment.?

Koos de Ronde (Ned) ?It went super for me this evening and I drove two nice and clear rounds. Boyd drove a very fast winning round. I don?t know exactly where I lost that one second, but if you compete at this high level, this little difference makes the sport even more exciting.?

Fredrik Persson (Swe): ?It was only the second time I drove this team together and I am very happy with my performance. I am pleased to notice that my horses went into the obstacles so easily without loosing speed and they already felt easier to drive than in Stockholm last week. It was a strong starting field in Budapest and I am happy that I made it to the top three. The course was very nice to drive and the competition was beautiful. I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of the show, knowing it is only the second edition.?

Photo (c) Rinaldo de Craen

Results CAI-W Budapest:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 222.95
2. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 223.95
3. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 234.70 (5)
4. Zoltan Lazar (Hun) 126.52 (0)
5. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 127.62 (5) wild card
6. Lajos Moro (Hun) 142.31 (5) wild card
7. Daniel W?gler (Sui) 142.71 (20)
8. Peter Juhasz (Hun) 175.25 (15) wild card

Classification after 4 of 7 events:
1. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 27
2. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 17
3. Boyd Exell (Aus) 16
4. Fredrik Persson 12
4. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 12
6. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 8
7. Zoltan L?? (Hun) 7
8. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 5
9. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 2
9. Daniel W?gler (Sui) 2

From: F??ation Equestre Internationale, Lausanne

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