April 19, 2010 — After a thrilling competition, Australia’s Boyd Exell won the Rolex FEI World CupT Driving Final in Geneva, Switzerland, presented by Brasserie A. Egger, April 18. Being the title defender, winner of three World CupT Driving events this season and top favorite, Exell felt the pressure on his shoulders but kept his head clear and beat the Dutchmen Koos de Ronde and IJsbrand Chardon.
Home driver Werner Ulrich had three knockdowns, which made him finish last with his mixed team of Swiss warmblood horses and a Lusitano gelding. After a very smooth round on the first day, double World Champion Tomas Eriksson from Sweden was determined to equal this performance. But the winner of the FEI World CupT Driving competition in Stockholm also knocked three balls down with his team of Swedish warmblood geldings and dropped to fifth place in the final standings.
Ulrich’s compatriot Daniel W?rgler drove the same team with which he won the FEI World CupT Driving competition in Leipzig in January, consisting of two Kladruber horses, a trotter and an Andalusian cross Camargue, which has only been in W?rgler’s stables since last spring. The 50-year-old professional horseman explained afterwards that his horses are at their best on the third day of a competition. Unlike in Leipzig, there was no extra competition in Geneva, and W?rgler had to be pleased with the fourth place.
IJsbrand Chardon was the first starter after his disappointing performance on the first night. The four-time World Champion drove his new team of Lipizzaner horses with more pressure and put down a fast and clear round with which he qualified for the winning round. Koos de Ronde had one knockdown, but drove very fast and secured his place in the winning round. Being the last starter, Exell felt the pressure and for a moment it looked as if the 2008 World Championship bronze medalist would not make it to the top three, but his very fast time made up for the two knockdowns.
The differences between the top three drivers were very little which forced them to go for it in the winning round. Chardon drove clear again, but De Ronde drove one of his best rounds ever and took four seconds off Chardon’s time. De Ronde, who is competing with three piebald geldings of the outdoor four-in-hand team of his father, kept his second place. The tension and excitement grew in the Palexpo hall when Exell came in, driving with his experienced team of trotters and warmblood geldings. In a breathtaking round, Exell remained clear and passed the finish line three seconds faster than De Ronde, winning the FEI World CupT Driving for the second consecutive time in his career.
1. Boyd Exell (Australia) 284.85
2. Koos de Ronde (The Netherlands) 287.94
3. IJsbrand Chardon (The Netherlands) 292.29
4. Daniel W?rgler (Switzerland) 155.71
5. Tomas Eriksson (Sweden) 158.76
6. Werner Ulrich (Switzerland) 164.16