Tuesday, 24 March 2009

TP52: Line-up for the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit starts to take shape

The 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit starts on May 12th with the City of Alicante Trophy. With the team registration period now open, seventeen teams, both TP52 and GP42, have shown interest in competing on the world's leading regatta circuit, which this year is made up of five events in four European countries.

TP52s racing in the Audi MedCup last year. Image copyright Thierry Martinez/Audi MedCup.

by Sabrina Mollart-Rogerson and Javier Sobrino

“A fleet of 17 teams from 10 different countries and the best international crew shows just how much the Audi MedCup has consolidated, and how it has become widely recognised as the Circuit par excellence,” indicates Ignacio Triay, Audi MedCup Circuit Director. “This can be deemed a success, especially in a year where the current global economic climate is having a negative effect in all areas; sports sponsorship in general and in that of sailing in particular.”

“As a sailor, I tend to value more the quality of the competition than the quantity,” adds Nacho Postigo, Technical Director of the Audi MedCup Circuit. “Seeing the wave of established international events that have been cancelled and the reduction in numbers on events that stood out for their particularly high entry lists, I think we can feel quite satisfied. It is reassuring to know that the Audi MedCup Circuit can count on the participation of so many teams of such a high calibre.”

11 TP52s to compete for the City of Alicante Trophy
11 TP52s from nine countries will race for the The City of Alicante Trophy, including a new team: Emirates Team New Zealand, formed by the America’s Cup syndicate and skippered by Dean Barker. For the first time a New Zealand team will compete on the Circuit and have to go up against 10 other teams who have all proved their domination over the TP52.

The three winning boats from the 2008 edition of the Audi MedCup Circuit will compete once again. They will be joined at the start line by a strong international fleet of TP52s. Following on from last year’s final standings, the American Quantum, entrusted to Terry Hutchinson to defend their title as champion; the Spanish boat, Bribón, second in 2008, will be skippered by leading helmsman Thierry Peponnet; Matador, the Argentinian team, will be led by Guillermo Parada; Artemis, will be led by Sweden’s Torbjorn Tornqvist; Spain’s Desafío returns at the hands of the very experienced Paul Cayard; the Italian Audi Sailing Team will be skippered once more by Riccardo Simoneschi; Cristabella, the British entry, will be led by John Cook; Synergy from Russia will have two lead helmsmen, Valentin Zavadnikov and Sergey Pchugin; Afonso Domingos returns to skipper the Portuguese entry, Bigamist; Valars from Russia will be led by Sergei Shetsov.

With this spectacular fleet, racing promises to be just as intense as that witnessed in 2008.

GP42s new on the scene
The fleet of GP42s will compete on the Audi MedCup Circuit for the first time – their racing is scheduled one day after the TP52s. Six teams have confirmed entry for Alicante on what will be the first regatta in the history of the GP42s on the Circuit: The Spanish, Madrid About Sailing owned by José María van der Ploeg, Daniel Caleros’ Puerto Calero and Caser-Quum owned by Javier Goizcueta; Roberto Moniti’s Italian Airis – classified in second position on the 2008 GP42 international circuit – Roma 2 owned by Filippo Faruffini; and Swing, the Japanese entry owned by Keisuke Suzuki.

“Having six GP42 from three different countries on the start line in Alicante is good news.” explains Ignacio Triay. “We would naturally like to have more, but we have to be realistic and take into account that this is their first year on the Circuit. I am convinced that we will see the number of entries increase over the coming seasons.”

According to Nacho Postigo, the introduction of the GP42s will mean a step ahead in the growth of the Audi MedCup Circuit who will benefit from both fleets. “The influence will be very positive for both the Circuit and for the GP42 Class itself. I think that we will see lots of synergies coming out of both divisions; and therefore see more competitiveness coming out of the GP42s wanting to move up to the next length whilst those on a TP52 who have a limited budget and are unable to maintain the level that is required to excel can opt to move to a GP42. At the same time a potential owner or sponsor can start to sail on the Circuit on the GP42 and then jump to a TP52.”

Preparations and new additions
With less than two months to go to the start of the first event on the calendar, all areas of the Audi MedCup Circuit organisation are making final preparations. “The first event is always the most complicated in terms of organising and these weeks to the build up are always the busiest with preparations” explains Ignacio Triay. “Especially this year as we have increased the attractions of the Audi MedCup Circuit with the introductions of a number of interesting novelties. Our objective will be to open the events up to the public further which in general does mean more work for the organisers, however we have a good team working and I fully trust that all will be ready to ensure success from the first event.”

The full list of confirmed pre registered entries for the opening event of the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit in TP52s, including nationality and skipper, is the following:

Artemis (Sweden) - Torbjorn Tornqvist
Audi Sailing Team (Italy) - Riccardo Simoneschi
Bigamist (Portugal) - Afonso Domingos
Bribón (Spain) - Thierry Peponnet
Cristabella (United Kingdom) - John Cook
Desafío (Spain) - Paul Cayard
Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand) - Dean Barker
Matador (Argentina) - Guillermo Parada
Quantum Racing (United States)- Terry Hutchinson
Synergy (Russia) - Valentin Zavadnikov/Sergey Pchugin
Valars (Russia) - Sergei Shetsov

The full list of confirmed pre registered entries for the opening event of the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit in GP42s, including nationality and skipper, is the following:

Airis (Italy) – Roberto Monti
Caser-Quum (Spain) – Javier Goizueta
Madrid About Sailing (Spain) – José María van der Ploeg
Puerto Calero (Spain) – Daniel Calero
Roma 2 (Italy) – Filippo Faruffini
Swing (Japan) – Keisuke Suzuki

Audi MedCup 2009 events:

City of Alicante Trophy, 12 – 17 May
City of Marseille Trophy, 9 – 14 June
Autonomous Region of Sardinia Trophy, 20 – 25 July
Portugal Trophy, 18 – 23 August
Region of Murcia Trophy, 14 - 19 September

Audi MedCup

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