Cup Driving starts in Hannover
25 October 2009
The 2009/10 season of FEI World Cup Driving kicked off in Hannover, Germany, where the first of seven events took place.
Boyd Exell, the winner of the World Cup title in February and CHIO Aachen in July this year, showed he was still on top form by driving a storming round in Hannover, finishing 10 seconds ahead of Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands and Tomas Eriksson of Sweden.
The warm-up competition was on Saturday evening and despite the late starting time of 11 pm, the Messehalle in Hannover was filled with a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Six drivers competed in the World Cup this weekend: five in the World Cup proper and one "wild card" driver, which each host country can nominate to make up the numbers. In the warm-up, Dutch driver Koos de Ronde finished first, ahead of his countryman IJsbrand Chardon, Hungarian Jozsef Dobrovitz in third place and British-based Australian Boyd Exell in fourth. Chardon was the only competitor to drive a double clear, but was not fast enough to give him first place. The result of the warm-up round determined the starting order of the actual World Cup competition on the following day.
Exell had some bad luck on the warm-up day, when his spare horse Pascal was vetted not fit to compete. After finishing fourth in the warm up, Exell did some fine-tuning of his horses, which resulted in two very fast rounds in the World Cup competition. Unlike his fellow competitors who all drove the same horses as last season, Exell used a new leader horse in his team in Hannover. Spitfire, a 16-year-old gelding was formerly owned by the German four-in-hand-driver Max Dangel and moved to Exell?s yard several weeks ago.
The World Cup Driving competition took place on Sunday at 3:30 pm.
Exell drove a clear and fast first round which none of his fellow competitors were able to beat. Koos de Ronde and Tomas Eriksson qualified for the top three drive-off, while reigning World Champion IJsbrand Chardon had to miss out after he knocked a ball down. Chardon?s team lost speed in the marathon obstacles, where they normally are the fastest.
Boyd Exell, the winner of last year's World Cup series, finished in first place with a time of 216.31 seconds - this being the combined time of his first drive plus the drive-off of the top three - and more than 10 seconds faster than than Koos de Ronde, who finished second on 226.69 seconds. Sweden's Tomas Eriksson was third on 247.34.
Photographs by Rinaldo de Craen.
Download the FULL RESULTSFEI World Cup Driving 2009-10
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