Thursday, Jul. 25, 2024

Dobrovitz Posts First Hungarian Win At Stuttgart German Master Driving

He relegates last year’s winner, Ijsbrand Chardon, to second.

It looks like Michael Freund’s unique string of 13 consecutive victories in the German Master Four-in-Hand Driving at Stuttgart (Germany), Nov. 19-23, won’t be approached anytime soon.

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He relegates last year’s winner, Ijsbrand Chardon, to second.

It looks like Michael Freund’s unique string of 13 consecutive victories in the German Master Four-in-Hand Driving at Stuttgart (Germany), Nov. 19-23, won’t be approached anytime soon.

Freund won the event 13 consecutive times from 1994 until his retirement as an active international driver in 2006. In 2007, Ijsbrand Chardon, four-time World Champion from the Netherlands, won the event, but this year he had to pass the title to 40-year-old Hungarian driver Jozsef Dobrovitz, who with this win secured his first World Cup-qualifier victory.

With the second-best result (one ball down), he qualified for the winning round, in which he drove clear, and he completed the two rounds in 232.49 seconds. In the end the Hungarian’s time was 10.21 seconds faster than his Dutch competitor.

“I am very, very happy,” said Dobrovitz, who lost his left eye in a driving accident as a 15-year-old boy. “I have been competing at Stuttgart since 2003, and it was my first indoor show at that time. I always hoped I would win one day.”

He gave thanks for his victory to his wife, since she helps him by giving him directions as a groom on the coach, and to his father, with whom he bred the team of Lipizzans.

“I have trained them now for two years, and I am very happy that they have matured and go like they go now. They are ready for it now. Ijsbrand Chardon drove some of them in the try-out World Cup competition at Budapest in 2007, which he won. They have become even better since,” said Dobrovitz, who has earned several World Championship medals.

After a clear first round, Chardon made one mistake with his team in the second round and had to be content with second place (242.70 seconds).

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“I had a lot of fun out there today. I have tried everything, but after I had one mistake, I drove calmly through the obstacles and took no risks any more. It was clear that I could not best Joszef, so my aim was to stay ahead of Christoph.

As a sportsman you have to be able to win and to lose. But it is not quite so much fun to lose,” said Chardon with a laugh.

Germany’s Christoph Sandmann, who had been runner-up last year, came third with two balls down in the second round (245.97). “The horses were really super in the first round,” he said. “I was the fourth starter, and the two young German wild card holders had very good rounds today, so I was under pressure to stay clear in the first round to qualify for the winning round and I did.”

Though he had one more ball down in the final round than Chardon, the German driver needed only 3.27 seconds more than the Dutch driver.

German course designer Falk Boehnisch had built a technical course with tight turns for the warm-up course. In the World Cup competition the gates were set a little wider, which resulted in more fluent and fast rounds.

Germany’s young wild card drivers and World Championship competitors Christian Plücker and Michael Brauchle received tips from Freund, who initiated the indoor driving concept many years ago in Stuttgart. Plücker drove well and just missed the final round, but was pleased with his fourth place. Brauchle came fifth, ahead of Switzerland’s Werner Ulrich and Hungary’s Zoltan Lázár who both drove their first World Cup competition of the season in Stuttgart.

Birgit Popp

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