Sunday, 15 March 2009

WMRT: Quarterfinal Pairings Announced in Marseille

Teams wait ashore for breeze, psyching up for first-to-three point series

Racing in the Marseille International Match Race 2009. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/World Match Racing Tour.

by Dobbs Davis

In order of their finish in the Stage One Round Robin, the top four of eight remaining Quarter Final teams have chosen their rivals in today’s first-to-three point series in the Marseille International Match Race. However, Principal Race Officer Gerard Bosse has signaled a postponement ashore while he and his race managers await a light predicted sea breeze for around midday today.

First to select his rival, Ed Baird (USA) and his Alinghi team had a specific rationale to explain his choice of Adam Minoprio (NZL) and his ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing Team: “We did not want to select any French team, as they would be the home favourites, and picking the reigning World Champion [Williams] would be stupid,” he said. “And choosing a guy who won all his races on the first day [Cian] didn’t seem smart either, so that left the two youngest teams. And so since Torvar [Mirsky] is ranked higher than Adam, we chose Adam.”

This pair will be the last to race in each flight of four matches today in this first event of the 2009 World Match Racing Tour. The first will be the Battle of the French, with Sebastian Col (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge up against Mathieu Richard (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team/French Spirit. These two finished a strong 2rd and 3th in last year’s Tour results, with Col defeating Richard 5 out of eight times, and Col did beat Richard when they met in the Round Robin here.

But today is a new day and in the light air anything can happen.

Second up will be reigning World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) and his Bahrain Team Pindar pitted against Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and his Mirsky Racing Team. Williams too beat Mirsky, but the youngest player on the Tour has shown extraordinary potential in other events, finishing ahead of Williams in 3 out of 8 events last year.

Third pair in the line-up will be the only non-Tour Card team in this round competing against the runner-up in the Round Robin. Damien Iehl (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team finished third in the Round Robin after having a remarkable day yesterday, so Paolo Cian (ITA) and his Team Shosholoza reckons he will be a safe choice to defeat today.

“We had a great day the first day, and a terrible day yesterday. Damien had a terrible first day and a great day yesterday, so we reckon that today will be our turn,” said Cian. “And we chose him too because regardless of what happens, we will remain good friends!” Certainly Cian’s prowess in the first day’s light air racing has not gone unnoticed, and he did win last year’s first Tour event light air finale at the Brasil Sailing Cup...

*Please take note two corrections in yesterday’s reported final results of the Stage One Round Robin: the correct results for 4th and 5th places, respectively, are Williams and Col, and for 10th and 12th place, respectively, are Ian Ainslie (RSA) and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and his Team Onboard.

1. Ed Baird (USA) Alinghi 8-3
2. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza 7-4
3. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 7-4
4. Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 6-5
5. Sébastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team 6-5
6. Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing Team 6-5
7. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 6-5
8. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/French Spirit 6-5
9. Philippe Presti (FRA) French Match Racing Team/French Spirit 5-6
10. Ian Ainslie (RSA) Team Proximo 3-8
11. Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) French Match Racing Team 3-8
12. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) 3-8

World Match Racing Tour

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