Trofeo Princesa Sofía advances to Medal races
Published on April 3rd, 2015
Palma de Mallorca, Spain (April 3, 2015) – The Trofeo Princesa Sofía, the first European event of the Olympic circuit, has secured three champions on the last day of finals in Palma. Evi van Acker in the Laser Radial and the french team of Billy Besson and Marie Riou in the Nacra will sail their round of honour in Saturday’s medal race.
“We tried hard to minimise our mistake and take one race at a time.”, confided a very cool headed and modest Billy Besson to explain the fantastic performance he displayed in Palma with crew Marie Riou. The French Nacra team mastered all kind of conditions, from light to mad, to win with a day to spare over a very talented fleet. “Everyone is here, the level is really high. We gained a little bit with each race, small takes which in the end gave us a good lead!” says Besson. Three French teams are in the top five at the end of the finals with Vaireaux/Audinet in fourth and Cammas/de Turckheim fifth. “Since the start of the Nacra adventure we have all trained together collectively, shared knowledge, and in the end we all progress together, this is our strength!” The French Nacra team has favored intense racing over training and it shows in the results. “Since November it is non-stop racing, it was a choice we made to work better on our tactics and racing strategies and it seems to have paid off!”
With Gold out of reach, eight teams can still medal tomorrow. The British team of John Gimson and Hannah Diamond has a good chance for Silver in second position with a 15 points lead over Renee Groeneveld and Steven Krol (NED).
Evi van Acker has also secured Gold before the medal race in the Radial with a 26 points lead over early leader Alison Young. The World #2 has collected a near to perfect score in the final stage with five wins and a second place.
“Of course I’m very happy with the races in the gold fleet. I had a rough start of the regatta but I was able to press the reset button and start over in the finals. Today was more difficult with less wind and big waves. I made two nice comebacks so I am very happy.” explains van Acker. “The goals for this year are to qualify and perform at my best at the test event in Rio this summer and at the Worlds later this year!” The two remaining medals will be coveted by the next five sailors.
The french windsurfers are remaining in the lead in the RS:X but are still under pressure from the Dutch. In both the men and women the title, which will be decided on Saturday can only go to the top two. Charline Picon is here to defend her title and is the big favorite with a great year in 2014 where the french won the main events including the ISAF World, Europeans, Olympic test event and Palma. Lilian de Geus has been pushing her, placing second to Picon, both in Palma and the Rio test event and is ready to make it right for her this time around. “I am really happy with my progress in the regatta and where I am now. At least I still have a fighting chance this time against Charline Picon. I have closed the gap. This is a result of training last winter and focusing on mental, physical and speed. I have improved on all three points and they are paying off.”
In the men’s division, only three points separate the World champion Julien Bontemps (FRA) from Kiran Badloe (NED) and they will be head to head tomorrow to fight for gold in the medal race and only Bronze will be on the table for the four remaining windsurfers including local favorite Ivan Pastor.
A penalty at the start for Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) combined with a race victory for the Argentinians Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente, changed the game in the 470 Men with the latest in front. Only the top two can claim Gold tomorrow.
The top five can hope to win the event in the women 470, however the Kiwis Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are on fire, scoring a second and taking a race in the last day of finals. French Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance are in second position on close points with Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR).
High scores have been collected for regatta leaders both in the Lasers and Finns. The leaders, Philipp Bulh in the Laser and Giles Scott in the Finn remain in first place but the title is free to take during tomorrow medal race.
Two wins for German 49ers Heil and Ploessel might not be enough to overtake the superfast kiwis on the medal race tomorrow. The Germans could take an edge on Burling and Tuke today by securing good start and maximising on their upwind, knowing that the kiwis are the fastest downwind. In any case Gold and Silver will go to the top two teams.
The Danish FX teams are making the most of their intense preparation in Palma to take the top two places going into tomorrow medal race. “We have spent a month and a half in Palma training and it seems to bear its fruits.” explains Danish coach Peter Hansen. “There is nothing at stake here for us but this is an important regatta we never miss and want to win.” The Danish have three teams training together and pushing each others at events. “They are very close and share knowledge in training but they are also very competitive on the water, they fight hard. This is quite representative to the Danish culture, and once ashore they are again good friends.” Tomorrow will bring on a fierce battle between the Danish teams for Gold.
The top ten advance for the final medal races on Saturday.
Source: Event media