Koos de Ronde has won the 6th leg of the FEI World Cup Driving season in Mechelen. © Rinaldo de Craen
After the third place in Hannover and the second place in Budapest, De Ronde knew it was time for a victory. De Ronde is with one more competition to go in third place in the standings and certain of a starting ticket for the final.
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. He put down a very good performance in the first round, but misunderstood Falk Bohnisch's 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.
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