The fifth place achieved by Santtu Raitala’s trotting instructors in the European Championship was originally supposed to be enough for a place in the World Championships, but apparently this is not the case.
Juho Hämäläinen / Finnish Hippos
Dominated the Finnish driving league in recent years Santtu Raitala, 30, was last weekend for the first time in his career to represent Finland in the European Championships for trotting instructors. In the races held in Belgium on Saturday and Sunday, a total of seven partial starts were run, and Raitala was fifth in the final results among the eleven participants. The European champion was guided by someone familiar from the tracks in Finland Alessandro Gocciadoro from Italy.
Raitala described the final result as reasonable. Fifth place was a good goal, as it had been announced in advance that the top five would be able to participate in the 2023 World Championships for instructors in Italy.
However, new information came during the race weekend. The host country of the upcoming World Cup changed from Italy to Holland, Belgium and Germany. European instructors have six spots for the World Championships, and since there is automatically a spot for the instructor from the host country, in the new situation three spots are going directly to the host countries. Thus, based on the European Championship, only the best three are getting in.
The top three of the European Championships were Italy’s Alessandro Gocciadoro, Malta Rodney Gatt and France David Bekaert. If the World Cup were to be held in Italy according to the original plan, in addition to the top three, Serbia, who finished fourth, would get the World Cup place Miodrag Pantic, Santtu Raitala and Spain, which was tied with him Jaime Fluxa Gomila.
Santtu Raitala says that the turn that came in the middle of everything surprised him quite a bit.
– It’s wild to some degree when at the beginning of the race it was said that the top five will get to the World Championships, and then it doesn’t turn out that way, Raitala describes.
According to Raitala, going directly to the host countries for three out of six places in Europe feels special.
– Is each organizing country individually entitled to a place to participate or should they hold mutual qualifiers, Raitala ponders.
– However, these are things that I personally cannot influence to any degree, so let’s see and wait for the final information.
The champion’s favorite series surprised
There is a small back door for Raitala’s World Cup chances, even if the actual interpretation does not change.
– If one of the top three is unable to participate, the list will be moved forward for those in the next places, Raitala says.
– I still don’t know exactly when the World Championships will be held, and of course it could be that there will be such games in Finland right then that it would not even be reasonable to go to the World Championships. However, it would be nice to be able to make such a decision yourself.
Although the laundry in terms of places to participate is surprising, Raitala was left with a very positive feeling about the EC competition itself.
– It was a nice trip and it was nice to get to know the instructors a little better with whom I have only exchanged a few words at raves. For example, we compared our favorite series on Netflix with Alessandro Gocciadoro, and he said that his favorite series is Bordertown, available in English on Netflix. It took me a while before I realized it was Sorjonen from Finland, Santtu Raitala laughs.
Gocciadoro’s preference for the Finnish series is partly explained by the fact that his ex-spouse is Finnish and Gocciadoro’s daughter lives in Finland.
The Swede was the first to report on the changed patterns of the EC and WC competitions Travronden.