Germany’s Dirk Gerkens will be first to take his team of horses into the arena when the FEI Driving World Championship 2022 begins with the Dressage phase at 10.00 local time tomorrow at Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy.
The 45-year-old German will compete as an individual and a total of 19 athletes will compete tomorrow while the remaining 18 will take their turn in the Dressage arena on Friday.
A draw of nations took place last night and the order-of-go for teams is Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Hungary, Germany and Australia. Teams consist of either two or three athletes, with the best two scores counting toward the final result.
The three members of the Belgian team are Tom Stokmans, Dries Degrieck and Glenn Geerts. Dressage will take place over two days and Stokman and Degrieck will compete tomorrow while Geerts will line out on Friday afternoon.
The French team consists of Sebastien Vincent, Anthony Horde and Benjamin Aillaud while the star-studded Dutch side, who are chasing down their eleventh team title in the 50-year history of these Championships that date all the way back to 1972, consists of Koos de Ronde, Bram Chardon and his father Isjbrand Chardon.
Hungary has taken the world team title on four occasions and first into the ring for them tomorrow will be the legendary József Dobrovitz whose son, József Jr, will compete on Friday along with third team-member and 2004 individual champion Zoltan Lazar.
Georg von Stein, team silver medallist at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA in 2018, will lead the German team effort tomorrow while his 2018 team-mate and 2015 European individual gold medallist Michael Brauchle will compete on Friday when third team-member, Mareike Harm, will bring the Dressage phase to a close.
Team Australia fields only two drivers and they both compete on Friday. Tor van den Berge will be second into the arena in the morning, and then all eyes will be on his compatriot, the phenomenal Boyd Exell who has been the most dominant force in the sport of Four-in-Hand Driving for many years and who will defend the individual World Championship title for the sixth consecutive time later in the afternoon.
In the picture Boyd Exell (AUS) - ph. Massimo Argenziano