Koos de Ronde leads the driving final after the first day of competition ©FEI

Dutch rider Koos de Ronde produced the only clear round on the first day of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Driving Final to lead the standings in Bordeaux, France.

The 39-year-old is aiming to secure his second title at the event, having triumphed in 2013, and enjoyed an ideal start by completing the technical course in the second fastest time.

However, by completing the event without receiving any penalties, De Ronde earned the first stage of the event with a tally of 144,26 points.

Ijsbrand Chardon was the only driver to achieve a faster time during the competition but an error saw the four-time world champion receive a penalty, which eventually saw him end on a total of 144.70 points.

Australia’s Boyd Exell was the final rider to take to the course but proved unable to overtake his Dutch rivals after one of his horses knocked down an obstacle.

The six-time champion, who has won five of the seven qualifying events, was able to score 145,22 to move into third place in the overall standings.

Australia's Boyd Exell is currently third as he looks to earn a seventh title
Australia's Boyd Exell is currently third as he looks to earn a seventh title ©Getty Images

“It was a very difficult course, we had to work very hard,” said De Ronde.

“But my team went very well and I am very pleased, although the race is definitely not run yet.

“We really nearly start from zero again on Sunday since the differences between me, Chardon and Exell are so little.

“I know that they will improve in the final, I will be the last driver in on Sunday afternoon, and it can either be an advantage or a disadvantage.”

With the top three riders after the second stage of competition advancing to the winning round of the event, Switzerland’s Jérôme Voutaz will be of the key drivers as he currently occupies fourth place with 159,87.

The winning round will begin immediately after completion of the first stage of the competition has drawn to a close, with the drivers having to negotiate an altered course.