Photo caption: Top Hungarian driver Zoltán Lázár will represent the host nation at the upcoming FEI European Four-in-Hand Driving Championships in Izsák. © Rinaldo de Craen/FEI
By Cindy Timmer
The FEI European Four-in-Hand Driving Championships will return to Hungary this week, 42 years after the event’s first edition in 1971 in Budapest. The city of Izsák, located approximately 100 kilometres south of the capital, will host the competitions from 26 to 29 September.
After their inaugural edition in 1971, the championships were held every two years until 1981 when they were discontinued. The event returned to the FEI Calendar in 2011 when Breda (NED) hosted the seventh edition. This year’s championships have attracted 35 four-in-hand drivers from nine nations. Teams from eight countries will be battling it out in the nations competition.
The Dutch driver IJsbrand Chardon is the titleholder and The Netherlands are the defending team champions.
The host nation will be represented by no less than 11 competitors, amongst whom will be Zoltán Lázár, team gold medallist and individual bronze medal winner at the recent FEI World Driving Championships for Pairs in Topol’cianky (SVK).
The town of Izsák has a long history in organising carriage driving events. The city’s traditional arena provides the basis of the show grounds for the European Championships. The mayor is also the president of the organising committee which has been in charge of the Hungarian National Driving Championships for the past 15 years.
The show grounds are located near the 15,000-year old lake Kolon not far from the bird-watching swamp of the Kiskunság National Park.
The European Championships start on Thursday, 26 September with the horse inspection. The dressage will take place on Friday, 27 September. The marathon will follow on Saturday, 28 September. The design of the marathon obstacles is in the capable and experienced hands of international O-course designer Gábor Fintha (HUN), who was also responsible for the course at the FEI World Pair Driving Championships in Topol’cianky. The final obstacle driving competition and medal ceremony are scheduled for Sunday, 29 September.
The Ground Jury is chaired by Peter Bonhof (NED) and has Bert Jambon (BEL), Pierre Cazas (FRA), Rainer Wannenwetsch (GER) and Jiri Kunat (CZE) as members.
For more information, please consult the event’s official website.