Thrilling contest promised in World Cup driving final

February 18, 2009

After seven thrilling FEI World Cup Driving qualifiers in Hannover, Stuttgart, Stockholm, Budapest, Geneva, Mechelen and Leipzig, the top six drivers of the standings after Leipzig are preparing for the final in Gothenburg, Sweden, this weekend.

Christoph Sandmann will defend his title in Gothenburg this weekend.
Excitement is guaranteed as out of the six drivers, four won one or more qualifiers. After his second place in Hannover, Jozsef Dobrovitz from Hungary got even better with his wonderful team of grey Lipizzana horses and won the following qualifiers in Stuttgart and Stockholm.

Four-time World Champion IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands won the first qualifier of the season of Hannover, came second in Stuttgart, missed the right connection with his horses in Mechelen where he came sixth, but made up for it again in Leipzig at the end of January.

Australia's all-round horseman Boyd Exell gradually grew into the season with a fifth and fourth place in Hannover and Stockholm, but proved to be an extremely strong opponent with wins in Budapest and Geneva.

Chardon's compatriot and member of the golden Dutch team in Beesd 2008, Koos de Ronde, started with a third place in Hannover, scored a second place in Budapest and won after an exciting round in Mechelen.

Title defender Christoph Sandmann drove the most qualifiers this season, having received wild cards in both Hannover and Leipzig. His performances in Stuttgart, Geneva and his second place in Mechelen guaranteed him a starting ticket for the final.

Home driver Fredrik Persson was considered as an outsider, but proved the contrary. Out of his four starts, he achieved three top three placings and the sympathetic driver will certainly go for this goal again in the final.

After a break in 2008, when the FEI World Cup Driving Final took place in Leipzig, the final is back in Gothenburg. The Gothenburg Horse Show has hosted the FEI World Cup Driving Final from the beginning in 2002 and the Scandinavium provides an excellent stage for the eighth edition of the Final in which the drivers start from scratch.