Italy's Francesco Bruni Takes Pole Position at Danish Open
[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Italy’s Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra, was in red hot form on day two of qualifying for the Danish Open and leads the charge for semi final places with a record of 8 wins and 3 losses, but with 3 flights to complete tomorrow morning and 7 skippers still in with a chance of qualifying the battle for the semis is wide open.
Bruni, who carried a 3-2 record over from yesterday got off to winning ways with victory over reigning ISAF World Match Racing Tour Champion Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing and followed that up with a win against Peter Gilmour YANMAR Racing. Bruni then bounced back from a loss to current ISAF World Match Racing Tour leader Matthieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing to win his three remaining races of the day.
Speaking after his amazing sequence of wins Bruni said, “It was an incredible day for us and everything seemed to work well. We’re in a strong position with 8 wins but I remember in St Moritz we thought we had done enough but didn’t go through. The competition is so tough you can’t take anything for granted.”
Francesco Bruni in perfect on the second day of the Danish Open. Bornholm, 10 September 2010. Photo copyright Loris von Siebenthal / WMRT
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team was also on form winning all three of his races to post a 7-1 record, while Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing and Adam Minoprio are the next closest challengers with 6 wins and 2 losses each.
Home favourite Mads Ebler (DEN) Ebler Matchracing pulled off a stunning victory over triple Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN, leaving the Englishman among the chasing pack fighting for a berth in tomorrow afternoon’s semi-finals.
“Winning over Ben was amazing for us. We try to go into every race treating everyone the same but it’s not everyday that you beat a legend like Ben, so it was a very good day for us. Ben tried to push us into an attack ahead of the start, luckily we were able to gybe in time. We got away from him at the start and were always ahead then,” said Ebler.
While Friday saw calmer winds for the sailors there was no let up in intensity on the water with crews pushing themselves and their boats to the limits. Veteran World Champions Peter Gilmour and Bertrand Pacé rolled back the years with a classic fierce duel which saw the pair clash twice.
The first incident came at the first leeward mark which saw Gilmour penalized for not giving Pace room to round inside his line. Seconds later Pacé incurred his own penalty as the windward boat not keeping clear. With Pacé holding the advantage on the final approach to the finish Gilmour made a last ditch attempt to snare the Frenchman which ended in disaster as his spinnaker made contact with Pace’s backstay which cost the Australian another penalty and with it the match.
Earlier in the day the 50 year-old Gilmour collected the honour of ‘play of the day’ in a clash of the generations as he took on 20 year-old qualifier William Tiller. Having lost his first match against Richard, Gilmour was facing down the barrel of a second straight loss, with Kiwi Tiller leading down the final run. But Gilmour maintained the attack right to the end, gybing to sit on Tiller’s wind and roll over the top of him five lengths from the line.
Best of the Rest
Ben Ainslie will need his best form in his three remaining races tomorrow to secure a place in the semis having won 2 and lost 1 of his races today, leaving him with a 5-3 record. Sweden’s Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Global Team also still has a chance to qualify, finishing the day on a 5-3 record.
Despite 2 wins today Ebler is unable to qualify for the semis along with 20 year-old William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing who showed his huge potential racking up four victories today. It was a day to forget for Mike Buckley (USA) MB Sailing, yesterday’s surprise winner over Matthieu Richard, as he lost all 8 races. Denmark’s three time Olympic sailor Susanne Ward (DEN) Team Ward scored her first win of the day against Buckley but finished with a 1-10 record.
Tomorrow sees the last three flights of the qualifiers and the start of the knockout semi-finals, in which the first teams to score three points will go through to the finals on Sunday.
Standings at the end of day 2 of qualifying for the Danish Open
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra 8-3
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 7-1
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 6-2
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 6-2
Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN 5-3
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 5-3
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Global Team 5-3
Bertrand Pacé (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team 5-6
Mads Ebler (DEN) Ebler Matchracing 4-7
William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing 4-7
Suzanne Ward (DEN) Team Ward 1-10
Michael Buckley (USA) MB Sailing 1-10