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Federation Equestre Internationale News

FEI Driving News : Freund fights for victory in Stuttgart

Michael Freund has won the first FEI World Cup Driving event of this season in Stuttgart, Germany. But the 49-year old had to fight for it. Yesterday in the warm up competition he let his fellow countryman Christoph Sandmann have the honours. But today Freund fought back and he won, supported by thousands of enthusiastic fans, the World Cup event in Stuttgart for the third consecutive time. Freund explains: O yesterday I had some bad luck when the break of the right hind wheel of my carriage blocked, but that was solved this morning. I have not very often used the horses I used in Stuttgart in this composition. The two wheelers are from my outdoor team. I had to look for a solution to compete with the best possible team, because I know that my colleague-drivers are getting closer and closer!¹ Christoph Sandmann, eager to beat his friend Freund in a World Cup competition, put everything at stake in today¹s first round. He and Wild Card driver Chester Weber from the USA qualified for the drive off, with Freund as their major opponent. Weber, driving a team of borrowed German horses from Michael Freund and Global Team manager Walter Plücker, knocked down five cones but was pleased with his third place. OI was invited by the organization to compete with a Wild Card and I believe that I have made this a true World Cup and not only a European Cup¹. Sandmann had to be pleased with the second place, despite his clear round.

Switzerland¹s Werner Ulrich came fourth, followed by the second wild Card driver Max Dangel from the Baden-Württemberg area. The Hungarian drivers Jozsef Dobrovitz and Jozsef Boszik made their indoor debut in Stuttgart. Dobrovitz started off well in yesterday¹s warm up competition, but knocked four cones down in today¹s course and came sixth: OWe don¹t have this kind of indoor driving in Hungary, so we have not been able to really prepare ourselves. We drove one indoor competition, but it was in a small hall without spectators. In Stuttgart I have tried not to listen to the music and the crowd and I am pleased with my result, my horses listened well and I can only get better!¹ explains Dobrovitz. Jozsef Bozsik, driving a team of Lipizzaner horses, came seventh in both competitions.

The course was designed by German course designer Falk Böhnisch from Donaueschingen, who made use of new obstacles, constructed by the Dutch course designer Johan Jacobs.

The next World Cup competition takes place in Stockholm, Sweden, on 29 November 2003.

Created in 2001, the Driving World Cup has provided an innovative new style of competition for indoor events, with courses combining marathon and cone driving obstacles. The 2003/2004 season of the World Cup includes seven events with eight competitions: Stuttgart (GER), Stockholm (SWE), Mechelen (BEL) in 2003; Leipzig (GER), two competitions in Vigo (ESP), 's-Hertogenbosch (NED) and Göteborg (SWE) in 2004.

The winner of the first two editions of the World Cup was Michael Freund (GER).

Relevant internet addresses:
Stuttgart German Masters:
World Cup Driving:


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