Eriksson claims Stockholm WC driving round

December 4, 2009

Sweden's Tomas Eriksson beat Boyd Exell on home soil by winning the third leg of the FEI World Cup Driving in Stockholm.

Exell, who has won the previous World Cup competitions in Hannover and Stuttgart, was last to go in the World Cup competition in Sweden's capital city at the weekend, but knocked three balls down and came fifth. Switzerland's Werner Ulrich ended the second place, followed by his compatriot Daniel Wurgler.

Tomas Eriksson in action.
It was clear that double World Champion Tomas Eriksson felt at home in the Ericsson Globen Arena. Many fans cheered the multiple Swedish Champion during the World Cup competition, which was presented by Lansforsakringar, a Swedish national insurance company. With only one round to drive, the competitors had to put everything at stake.

Eriksson decided last minute to change his route in one of the marathon obstacles and hesitated a fraction of a second, which caused a ball to fall. His time was fast enough though to beat Werner Ulrich, who had been in the lead until that moment. It is the second time that Eriksson wins the FEI World Cup Driving in Stockholm; in 2002 he was also crowned as winner.

Both Swiss drivers Werner Ulrich and Daniel Wurgler started their World Cup season in Stockholm, which was awarded Best Indoor Driving Event 2008 by l'Annee Hippique. Werner Ulrich used a mixed team with a Lusitano mare from his outdoor team, two Swiss Warmblood geldings from his old team and a new 8-year-old trotter mare. Although the 1998 World Champion did not set the fastest time, he passed the finish line with the only double clear round and secured his second place. Daniel Wurgler was very happy with his third place, using the 7-year-old Eclair DW, an Andalusian cross Camargue in the lead of his team, next to the trotter mare Suleika and the pair of Kladruber geldings from Wurgler's former team, the 17-year-old Favory Pastora and the 14-year-old Generale Erga.

Boyd Exell is in the lead of the standings after three competitions and if he ends on the fourth place or higher in Budapest next weekend, he can drop his Stockholm score. But he is already certain of a ticket for the Final in Geneva in April 2010. Exell admitted a driving mistake in the course, but had to watch the video to see that the two other balls were knocked down as well.

Although both IJsbrand Chardon and Jozsef Dobrovitz did not compete in Stockholm, the news that Chardon bought three Lipizzaner horses of Dobrovitz' team in Stuttgart last weekend was much talked about.

Chardon explained his spectacular purchase: "I have competed in two World Cup competitions in which I came third and fourth. The current level is so high and my horses, amongst which one 19-year old gelding, have trouble keeping up with the rising speed. I had already planned to start looking for a different solution next April because I cannot make it to the top with my current horses. I got the chance to buy these experienced horses from Jozsef Dobrovitz. I rather invest time in these horses now in order to be able to compete competitively again next season. Boyd Exell is currently in such good form, that I do not have the illusion to beat him this season. I don not mind losing, but I don't like to loose when I don't have a fair chance!"