Ysbrand Chardon of the Netherlands seized the lead from American Chester Weber after winning the cross-country marathon stage of the 2006 World Four-in-Hand Driving Championships being held at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany.

Three–times World Champion, Chardon was in the form of his life, driving his well-schooled bay Dutch Warmbloods with tremendous skill through the eight marathon obstacles to finish on a score of 104.08 penalties on the third day of competition.

“I was really pleased with my horses,” commented Chardon, ”The new cross-country course was excellent but the first obstacle – that caused problems for several drivers was quite tough and would have been better being second or third on the course.”

Belgium’s Felix Brasseur was second on the marathon on a score of 104.51 with Stefan Klay of Switzerland third on 105.83 and Sweden’s Tomas Eriksson fourth on 106.65.

Karen Bassett of Britain made up for a disappointing dressage with a brave performance on the marathon. Karen finished 15th on a score of 120.37 and moved up from 48th to 29th in the individual rankings. Britain’s George Bowman drove a really competitive round with his inexperienced black Dutch Hackney/Warmbloods but had a problem in one obstacle and ended with a score of 128.88 pens, which dropped him to 20th place individually. Dick Lane had a safe but slow round to score 183.27 and slipped to 41st.

Barry Capstick representing Ireland was one of two drivers to turn over in obstacle 1. Unfortunately, Barry suffered a suspected broken leg in the accident and was taken to the local hospital in Aachen. Horses and grooms were fine.

With just the cone-driving phase to go, Ysbrand Chardon of the Netherlands is in gold medal position on 145.30 with Felix Brasseur in silver medal position on a score of 146.37, just one penalty behind. Sweden’s Eriksson is in the bronze position on 153.24 just ahead of Germany’s Christoph Sandmann in 4th on 154.17. USA’s Chester Weber dropped to 7th on 162.43 and Germany’s Michael Freund to 9th on 162.98.

Germany is now in gold medal position in the nations team competition by four penalties from the Netherlands in silver and less than a penalty behind, Belgium in bronze.