Michael Freund has been crowned the FEI World Cup driving champion for the third year in the row, maintaining his unbeaten title record in the prestigious international indoor series.
The final FEI World Cup event in Gothenburg, Sweden, saw Freud competing as a wild card entry and with the maximum 40 points already in the bag for the German driver, he could relax in the knowledge that victory in the series had already been secured.
However, Swedish driver Tomas Eriksson was determind to break Freud’s unbeaten run. He was delighted to achieve his aim in front of an ecstatic home crowd in the Globen arena, to finish in fourth place in the final standings.
Good drives in the first round of the last World Cup event saw Eriksson, Christoph Sandmann and Freund go forward to the final round, where the times and penalty seconds of both rounds were added together.
After the win, Eriksson said: “I hit two balls in the first round and knew that I had to go for it. I took a lot of risks and was lucky to stay clear which put extra pressure on Sandmann.”
Sandmann was unable to equal Eriksson’s time and knocked one ball down along the way, while Freund had two balls down round the course, which dropped him in to second place in an event for the first time in the series.
“I did not feel nervous before I started in the final round, but I turn 50 this September and today it was the first time I felt like 50,” explained Freund.
British-based Australia driver Boyd Exell retained his second place in the series overall with Fred Pendlebury’s Welsh Cobs, thanks to Sandmann’s third place in Gothenburg, which left him just one point behind in third overall. This is an exact replica of last year’s result when Exell beat Sandmann to second place by just one point.
Final FEI World Cup Driving standings
1, Michael Freund (GER) 40;
2, Boyd Exell (AUS) 27;
3, Christoph Sandmann (GER) 26;
4, Tomas Eriksson (SWE) 24;
5, Gert Schrijvers (BEL) 22;
6, Werner Ulrich (SUI) 15;
7, Rainer Duen (GER) 15;
8, Ijsbrand Chardon (NED) 14;
9, Jozsef Dobrovitz (HUN) 13;
10, Jozsef Bozsik (HUN) 8.