THE SWISS DRIVER JÉRÔME VOUTAZ TAKES LYON BY STORM

There was an amazing atmosphere at the inaugural FEI Driving World Cup organised at Equita Longines, le Salon du Cheval de Lyon.

The amateur Swiss driver Jérôme Voutaz won over the public in Lyon as he took on the best in the field.

“I must say I never thought I’d finish first. Yesterday, my round was peppered with mistakes, so I had to be more accurate today,” explained Jérôme Voutaz, a mechanic, who drives as an amateur in the evening after his day’s work.

“Usually, on a typical day, I get behind my carriage at 6pm after finishing work. The result this evening proves that if you persevere you can succeed.”

In second place at this inaugural FEI Driving World Cup, the Dutch driver Koos de Ronde (who has already won several medals in the discipline) said he was “impressed by the quality of the competition in Lyon. I am very happy that this date has been added to the season’s calendar. Everything was perfect, the stables, the track, the public.” The recent team silver-medallist at the world championships finished ahead of his team-mate from the same championship, the young Bram Chardon, who was third in the FEI Driving World Cup stage in Lyon: “I arrived in Lyon with the goal of winning, but I made some mistakes I don’t usually make. Maybe I wanted to push the horses too hard, but I wasn’t accurate enough. This is the first competition of the season, and I think my team has great potential.”

The only French driver in the Top 10 (only the top ten in the world compete in the FEI Driving World Cup), Benjamin Aillaud came sixth in the class. Known for his sense of showmanship, the driver from Tarbes found great support from the crowd in Lyon, similar to that for the Final of the circuit, which is usually held in Bordeaux. “The Lyon audience was fantastic. It’s great to have an extra stage on the circuit, an additional event for the sport and the exceptional atmosphere of the top-level driving.”

The 24th Equita Longines, le Salon du Cheval de Lyon rounded off with the passion and enthusiasm of the international drivers and the cries of joy and support from the audience, who turned out in numbers for this first FEI World Cup stage in the Rhone region.