Spectacular win for De Ronde in Mechelen
30 Dec 2008

Koos de Ronde has won the 6th leg of the FEI World Cup? Driving 2008/2009 in Mechelen, Belgium.

Dutch National Champion Koos de Ronde finished his competition year 2008 with a spectacular win in the FEI World Cup? Driving competition in Mechelen, Belgium. Germany?s Christoph Sandmann and Michael Brauchle came second and third. Four times World Champion and winner in Hannover IJsbrand Chardon ended in sixth place after he knocked five balls down.

De Ronde left his fellow competitors Sandmann and wild card driver Brauchle far behind with a very fast and clear first round. After Brauchle was eliminated in the second round because of driving a wrong course and Sandmann knocked three balls down, De Ronde knew the only thing he had to do was to finish in a reasonable time. But as sporting as De Ronde is, he again showed everything he had and treated the enthusiastic crowd in the Nekkerhal Arena to a truly spectacular second round. After his third place in Hannover and second place in Budapest, De Ronde knew it was time for a victory. De Ronde is in third place in the standings and with one more competition to go, certain of a starting ticket for the Final in Gothenburg.

The Organising Committee gave one of the wild cards to Germany?s Michael Brauchle. The OC wanted to give young talent a chance to compete at this level and since Belgium does not have anyone at the moment that fits this profile, Brauchle was invited. The 18-year-old driver won the marathon in Aachen and contributed to the silver team medal in Beesd 2008. Brauchle also received a wild card in Stuttgart, where he came fifth. The young driver put down a very good performance in the first round, but misunderstood Falk B?nisch? course plan and was eliminated in the second round. Instead of taking gates A, B, C, D, Brauchle interpreted A-D on the course map as if he only had to take gates A and D. Brauchle nevertheless received a supporting applause from the 8000 spectators.

World Cup title defender Christoph Sandmann tried to put some pressure on De Ronde but he failed after he knocked three balls down. Sandmann had a double function this week as he also had to support his eldest daughter who competed in an international pony jumping competition in The Netherlands. The 2008 team silver medallist is currently in fifth position in the standings and is hoping for a starting place for the Final.

Sweden?s Tomas Eriksson came fourth ahead of second wild card driver Gert Schrijvers from Belgium whose brake system of the carriage broke which caused three balls to fall. Mechelen was not Fredrik Persson?s best show of the season so far. In the warm up competition, his leader horses jumped to the side before crossing the bridge, passed another gate and was eliminated. In the FEI World Cup? Driving competition Persson could not get his team going again and came seventh. Persson has one more chance in Leipzig to qualify for the Final.


Koos de Ronde (Ned) ?I felt a victory coming for me. My team is going very well and they get better every competition. But the competition is strong and I am very happy that I managed to win in Mechelen. It was super cool to win here in front of such an enthusiastic audience. The course was the most difficult course I have driven so far in the World Cup. Especially the obstacles were very difficult, but when your team goes well, it all goes well and it doesn?t matter how difficult the course is.?

Christoph Sandmann (Ger) I had a super first round, but I wanted too much in the winning round. I wanted to make it more difficult for Koos de Ronde, but I didn?t succeed. I am happy though with my performance and my horses.?

IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) ?I have some work to do before Leipzig. One of my leader horses is quite inexperienced. In Hannover and in Stuttgart she performed really well, but today it went wrong. She was too eager, but I don?t blame her. I prefer it happens in Mechelen than in Gothenburg.?

Results CAI-W Mechelen:
1. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 222.67 (5)
2. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 250.23 (15)
3. Michael Brauchle (Ger) EL
4. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 141.53 (10)
5. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 141.66 (10)
6. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 149.08 (25)
7. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 150.25 (15)

Classification after 6 of 7 events:
1. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 27
2. Boyd Exell (Aus) 23
3. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 22
4. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 20
5. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 17
6. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 14
7. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 11
8. Daniel Wuurgler (Sui) 9
9. Zoltan Lazar (Hun) 7
9. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 7

The next FEI World Cup driving event takes place in Leipzig, Germany, from 16 to 18 January 2009. Website: www.partner-pferd.de

From: F??ation Equestre Internationale, Lausanne

Photo: Rinaldo de Craen

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