Thursday, September 13, 2007

Spithill on fire at Latium Match Cup

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] The first day of the Latium Match Cup belonged to James Spithill. The Luna Rossa helmsman posted 5 straight wins to top his group and secure his place in the Quarter Finals. The Latium Match Cup, the 12th stage of 15 in the 2007 Tour, is being held in Fiumicino, 25 km’s West of Rome.

The 12 teams have been divided into 2 groups for Round Robin Racing in the first stage of the event. Just before midday racing got under way in a light Westerly wind of 6-8 knots.

Group A completed their first three flights with Peter Gilmour, Ian Williams and Sebastien Col on 2 wins. Jure Orel's debut on the World Tour was one to be pleased with as he won against Peter Gilmour. Sten Mohr and Ian Ainslie both won one each.

Group B then took to the water as the sea breeze, know locally as the “Ponentino”, built to 12 knots. James Spithill attacked the day leaving all his opponents to wonder what they will have to do to beat him. Spithill said “It’s great to be in Rome. Italy feels like a second home and I always seem to do well when I sail here. It’s also great racing with the guys again (referring to Joe Newton, Michele Ivaldi, Magnus Augustson, Andy Fethers).”

Opening day of the Latium Match Cup. Fiumicino, 12 September 2007. Photo copyright Craig Mitchell/ World Match Racing Tour

Magnus Holmberg slid into the Quarter Finals with three wins including victory against Paolo Cian following a close gibing duel down the last run. Holmberg credited the win to his spinnaker trimmers for getting downwind so quickly. “We struggled with boat speed to begin with but changed the set up and things got better. We were lucky to get three wins and a few lessons were learnt today” Said Holmberg.

The third place in the Round Robin went to Paolo Cian who chalked up three wins. “Today was a good day and we are happy to get through. We lost to Magnus as he had better speed downwind. The conditions today were great for Match Racing” said Cian.

Mathieu Richard is fast becoming the repechage man after going down the same route in St Moritz last month. “Maybe it’s not too bad being in the repechage as you have more sailing and practice, though we did not plan to do it this way. We hope we can come back and make the Quarter Finals” said Richard. A high risk strategy indeed but there have been occasions at other Tour events when a fight through the repechage has spurred a team on to overall victory. Only time will tell.

Tomorrow Group A will complete their Round Robin and the bottom three will join Richard, Victor Lanier and Michael Hestbaek in the Repechage round scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Results from Day 1

Group A
Ian Williams (GBR) 2-1
Sebastien Col (FRA) 2-1
Peter Gilmour (AUS) 2-1
Ian Ainslie (RSA) 1-2
Sten Mohr (DEN) 1-2
Jure Orel (SLO) 1-2

Group B
James Spithill (AUS) 5-0
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) 3-2
Paolo Cian (ITA) 3-2
Mathieu Richard (FRA) 2-3
Victor Lanier (FRA) 1-4
Michael Hestbaek (DEN) 1-4

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