Quantum maintains slim lead at TP52 World Championship
Published on June 12th, 2014
Porto Cervo, Sardinia (June 12, 2014) – Niklas and Catherine Zennström’s crew held off the challenge from Quantum Racing to the finish line as all four top boats finished within a minute with only 35 seconds separating Rán Racing, second place Quantum Racing and Eduardo de Souza Ramos’ Phoenix.
Ranking as one of the closest coastal racing yet on the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES, there was no let up in the action during the three hour race and any one of the top four boats could have won. Rán Racing’s coastal triumph brings them to within one point of regatta leaders Quantum Racing which has scored a first and second to Rán Racing’s first and third. Local favorites Azzurra dropped to a disappointing fifth place today to lie third overall.
If the course was not quite as breezy as last year’s blast up and down ‘Bomb Alley,’ it offered more opportunities with a diet of wind shifts and changes of pressure around the many headlands and as the channel successively widens and narrows.
A short delay until the wind settled in the west was well worth it, as was the choice to eliminate an initial short leg. Instead the fleet was straight into the cut and hand-to-hand combat as they negotiated the close quarters funneling effect.
Ergin Imre’s Turkish flagged team on Provezza sailed an immaculate long beat to the first turn. After baling out from the pin end of the start they were able to lift away to the right in an early, controlling position and lead for more than half of the course. They lost Quantum Racing at the island turn when the defending 52 SUPER SERIES champions just managed to slide inside them on the kite hoist.
The Provezza team kept their shoulder to the wheel and when Quantum Racing and Phoenix erred into lighter, lifted pressure on the right they were able to come back and lead again. They stayed doggedly in the mix, just losing out at the Tre Monte mark where they shed some meters to the top three and finished a bittersweet fourth. Though it is good, solid result for the team, tactician Tony Rey explained their mixed feelings: “At Spargi I said to the guys don’t be afraid of a close race in this class, keep doing what we are doing well, there were probably a dozen small things and in the end then we ended up like a puppy at the side of the road that had just been rolled by three big trucks. We managed to hang on to the 4th place. In the big picture….it was a great day for us, a really good day.”
Rán Racing worked consistently to take all the opportunities that came their way. In the early part of the course they were as low as fifth, and some distance from fourth. Up to Caprera and just beyond they were in the mix but were forced to the right into lighter breeze which lost them distance. Adrian Stead and strategist Nic Asher made their best calls on the downwind, having gotten themselves into a position to attack. They used a couple of good heading gusts well off the town of Palau – where the breeze swirled to a mix of light spots and very useful puffs – and were able to roll down past Provezza and Quantum Racing. From there they kept cool heads and made no mistakes to the line.
Niklas Zennström (SWE) owner-driver Rán Racing (SWE) smiled: “It was a fantastic race. For a three hour course there were four boats finishing within a minute, and it was full on for three hours, so lots of concentration, lots of hard work. Great fun. Quantum Racing were right behind at the last mark and at that point if they tacked we tacked. The run from the rock all the way back was very close. This was an amazing coastal race with lots of changes of positions. Ado Stead called some fantastic shots on the downwind getting us into some good positions.”
Team wills be back on the starting line tomorrow at 12 midday. A light Mistral breeze of around 8 knots is forecast.
Standings: Audi TP52 World Championship – Porto Cervo, Italy Overall after 2 races
1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) (1,2) 3pts
2. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,1) 4pts
3. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (2,5) 7pts
4. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (4,3) 7pts
5. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,4) 10pts
6. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (5,7) 12pts
7. Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin FRA) (8,6) 14pts
8. Hurakan, ITA, (Giuseppe Parodi ITA) (7,8) 15pts
9. B2, ITA, (Michele Galli ITA) (9,DNF) 19pts
Adrian Stead (UK) three-time TP52 World Champion and tactician Rán Racing (SWE): “It was a coastal race well worth waiting for. We had a lovely long beat up to Spargi and then the spinnaker leg back, lots of place changing. The front four boats were all very close the whole way through and it was a case of hanging in with the group and hoping for the chance to get past. We managed to get our nose in front just off La Maddalena and then we had to defend really hard once we’d come through the Bisce on the last leg to the finish. It was a really good race. I’d say one of the best coastal races we’ve done.”
Tom Burnham (USA) strategist and pit Quantum Racing (USA): “It was a great race, different to last years in that there was less pressure, it was shiftier, and many lead changes. In that flat water in these wind conditions everyone is going at the same speed. It was big battle, a tough one. Rán Racing got one really nice puff at Palau and got through to lead. We gybed away thinking we were on the preferred gybe and they just sailed it straight and got around us. Rán did a nice job form there and got ahead a bit, we did a good job getting inside coming to Tre Monte (the last mark in the channel) and we got through the Phoenix. But it was a full on battle all the way around the race course, with four boats in it to win it and at any moment any one of the four could have won it.”
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Source: Event media
Photo courtesy of Studio Martinez