The Olympia course was designed by Johan Jacobs and featured seven pairs of cones, a bridge, and two sets of marathon obstacles made to look like wrapped Christmas packages for this traditional London prelude to the holiday season. With tight loops that offered several pattern options for the drivers, it was a deceptively simple course that actually required highly technical driving.
Competing last in the drive off after his first time of 125.23 and a clear, super fast run, Exell got off to a flying start, but with the pressure on from Chardon, wound up accruing 20 penalty seconds − a rarity for the Australian champion − who would have to settle for a third-place finish at Olympia.
Second place went to Belgian Glenn Geerts, another of the world’s best drivers, who rollicked through his first run with no penalty seconds and a time of 135.79. While he was faster through the course in the drive off, five penalty seconds at the end gave him a total time of 137.94.
Finishing just behind Chardon and ahead of Exell will most certainly give Geerts a boost going into the next round of competition heading to the finals in Bordeaux in February.
The door to the drive-off was closed by Geerts to Koos De Ronde of the Netherlands, who finished fourth with a time of 137.76 and a clear run − the first of the event. De Ronde used a tactical approach to shave seconds off the course, cranking out tough 360-degree turns, his backstepper and navigator hanging perilously off the back of the carriage.