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29 May 2011, 07:47 am
Gilmour Strikes At Match Race Germany
Phil Robertson
Phil Robertson (NZL) Match Race Germany

World Match Racing Tour 2011
Langenargen, Germany

Peter Gilmour enjoyed a welcome return to form at Match Race Germany to put himself within one win of a place in the Final while the French Match Racing Team duo of Damien Iehl and Mathieu Richard sunk to Quarter-Final defeats.
Having defeated Richard in the Quarter-Finals, Peter Gilmour, the four-time ISAF Match Racing World Champion now heads into the final day of the regatta with a 2-0 lead over Eugeniy Neugodnikov. If he makes it to 3 points, he will battle it out against either Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing or Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing whose match stands at 1-1.

The conditions may have been light but the racing was certainly tense. With such light winds, there was always the possibility that the Race Committee could abandon racing and let the results go to count back to determine which teams go through. No team could be sure that their previous race wouldn't be their last.

Commenting on the conditions and his Quarter-Final performance, Gilmour said: "In the Quarter-Finals it was all about winning the last race. And then it is what it is. It was Mathieu's first event this year - he was sailing very well and we knew he would. It was really tight but in the end it was all about relaxing and applying what we had learnt from the beginning of the week."

Speaking about his crew, Gilmour was not the first skipper this week to praise his team for their role in working the Bavaria boats hard in light and shifty winds: "It was rough on this boat at the beginning of the week - we had to work a lot on the positioning, the weight and the handling of the boat. I've been working really hard with my two trimmers on that. They've been great coaches for me and very gentle as well when I was not doing things properly."

Gilmour's tussle with Richard over five races was full of incidents however the fireworks really ignited in their third race. It was at 1-1 that the fireworks ignited. Richard had a commanding lead as they rounded mark 2 however a zephyr brought them back together as they rounded mark three. The Australian tried to force Richard close to the mark, hitting the Frenchman's boat not once but twice. The umpires ruled that the collisions were two separate incidents and so Gilmour got two penalties. Two flags for Gilmour meant an immediate turn handing Richard control of the match.

At 2-1 down, Gilmour was on the ropes but was unlikely to give up: "We were 2-1 down and we had to go strong on him and focus on our sailing rather than the result. From there it was all about not putting ourselves under any undue pressure which takes a bit of experience and maturity."

The morning's Quarter-Final picks saw top placed Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team opt to race bottom placed Neugodnikov (RUS) Team Synergy whilst Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners followed his team mates' choice instead of his own instinct and went for Robertson over Gilmour. That left Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team to face Gilmour.

They're decisions that Iehl, Radich and certainly Radich's team mates will rue. Apart from a comprehensive defeat in his second race against Iehl, Neugodnikov was more than a match for Iehl. He had clearly moved up a gear since Qualifying and fought hard every time Iehl came back at him to level the scores at 1-1 and then 2-2. In the final race, he outclassed Iehl to win by a sizeable margin.

The results of the Quarter-Finals still mean Damien Iehl will retain the overall lead of the World Match Racing Tour going into the Korea Match Cup however the Frenchman will feel he could have gone a lot further than he did here in Langenargen. Speaking after his loss, Iehl said: "We had to pick someone and so we went for Neugodnikov because he wasn't the strongest in light airs. The conditions were difficult and at 2-2 I picked the left which clearly wasn't the best side as he built up a big lead which we couldn't reduce."

Reflecting on his defeat against Robertson, Radich said: "That's it, we're out. Phil sailed well, their crew work was better than ours and with this boat, if you miss 1 metre here and 1 metre there that's the end. It was not our day - we did not pick the right opponent. At the moment I'm disappointed but it's fair that they won."

A live blog will run on www.wmrt.com throughout the day to give flight by flight updates. Also follow the action on the WMRT Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/worldmatchracingtour and Twitter page http://twitter.com/worldmrt

Semi-Final Standings (after 2 flights):
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing v Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 1-1
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing v Eugeniy Neugodnikov (RUS) Team Synergy 2-0

Quarter-Final Results
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team beat Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners 3-1
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing beat Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 3-2
Eugeniy Neugodnikov (RUS) Team Synergy beat Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 3-2

Standings After the Third Qualifying Session:
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing 9-2
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 8-3
Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners 8-3
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 7-4
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 7-4
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 6-5
Eugeniy Neugodnikov (RUS) Team Synergy 6-5
Eric Monnin (SUI) Team Okalys Corum 5-6
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) - Berntsson Sailing Team 4-7
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 4-7
William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing 2-9
Stefan Meister (GER) 0-11

2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings (After Stage 1)
1 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team- 25pts
2 Bertrand Pacé (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team - 22pts
3 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat- 19pts
4 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners - 16pts
5 Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Extreme Team Morbihan - 14pts
6 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino - 12pts
7 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing - 10pts
8 Álvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team - 8pts
9 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team - 4pts
10 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar - 2pts

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