Georg von Stein of Germany demonstrated how experience and composure can benefit, after missing the approach to the speed box and having to recover from 15 penalty seconds accrued early in his run while the course was reset. His final time of 179.25 wasn’t drive-off worthy, but was respectable considering the penalty and gave him fifth place.
Sixth place fell to Edouard Simonet, another Belgian home crowd pleaser, who turned in a time of 182.04 and 10 penalty seconds, after nearly missing the speed box.
In seventh place, Benjamin Aillaud of France finished with a time of 182.74 and 20 penalty seconds.
Finishing up the field, Chester Weber of the USA was eager to finally make it into a drive off, but alas it was not to be. The bell was rung when he hit a marathon obstacle, and he wound up with 30 penalty seconds and a disappointing time of 202.93.
With only one more leg to come in Leipzig in January before the finals, the competition is heating up even more to see who will win a spot in Bordeaux. With Australian Boyd Exell still first in the standings, and Ijsbrand Chardon not far behind him, the rest of the field will have to give their all in Germany next month to make it to France.
With Bram Chardon’s win this weekend in Mechelen, there just might be two Chardons competing in the finals. Tune in to FEI.tv to catch all the action from Leipzig.
Text by Patricia Salem
Images by Dirk Caremans