The race for the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit 52 Series title stepped ever higher in intensity in light breezes off Barcelona after a stunning recovery from the Spanish crew on Bribon saw them finish in second place in the only race of the day.
Long time Circuit leaders Quantum Racing
(USA) slid to a second successive seventh place in the eight boat fleet which is competing for the Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy.
After finishing third in Cagliari, winning in Cartagena and now seizing the regatta today lead in Barcelona with their come-from-behind second place, their incredible momentum might almost even suggest a date with destiny come Saturday's gala prizegiving as the perfect full stop to the 40 year history of the famous team.
But in fact the title race is still a four cornered fight.
scored their first race win since July to keep the Markus Wieser skippered crew in the title challenge. Less than 13 points separate Quantum Racing
from fourth placed Audi Azzurra
(ITA) with up to four races of the season left. The American flagged team, which won the overall title in 2008, lead Spain's Bribon
by just seven points.
started best today and were able to use the added wind pressure to the left side of the course, it was Tony Langley's Gladiator
(GBR) which lead around the windward mark. Container
took the lead on the first run as they read the fluky wind pressure better and Gladiator
chose to gybe set to the left of the run
Bribon had come off the start line second best after the challenge for the pin end of the line and found themselves with a struggle on their hands. But their excellent boat speed in the light, 6-8kts breeze, was the key to their climb through the fleet from sixth at the first turn, going on to chase Container across the finish.
Of concern to the Quantum Racing
crew will, again, be the way in which they slipped from an early third after a strong opening beat, to cross seventh.
The rise of the 52 Series fleet's oldest design, Bribon
, over the second half of this season has been pronounced. They stood sixth on the Circuit standings after each of the first two events, fifth after Cagliari, fourth after their win in Cartagena and now they lie second on the season standings after having made up 31.5 points on Quantum Racing
over the last 18 races.
's trimmer and project manager Ignacio Triay (ESP) came ashore saying that with two days to go the season title race starts again here, "It feels like the season starts here, it starts today. Everything could happen in the next two days, everything!"
"I tell you I would never have expected this. We were pretty convinced that the podium of the Audi MedCup would be a fight between Quantum, Audi Azzurra and Container and we were pretty convinced that the fight for fourth place would be between us, RAN and Synergy.
"In Cartagena we had the feeling that, hey, maybe we should go for more. Suddenly we found ourselves closing to the podium, so we said maybe we should try. Here has happened three things: today or tomorrow the conditions could change but so far the conditions for Bribon have been not bad.
"We did a more constant three days and our most direct opponents are doing worse than any other event before, so all together I was looking at the numbers and probably after two days in Cascais it was closer than it is now. It is not going to be for anyone with a weak heart. Anything can happen? Quantum is still far ahead, we have Azzurra and Container very close to us."
The 52 Series are scheduled to sail four more windward leeward races, effectively losing their coastal race since only one race could be completed today.
Standings, Conde de Godó - City of Barcelona Trophy
TP-52 after five races
1. Bribón (ESP), 1+3+3+1+2=10 points
2. RAN (SUE), 2+1+1+2+5=11 points
3. Container (GER), 4+7+5+4+1=21 points
4. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+2+7+7=21 points
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 8+4+8+3+4=27 points
6. Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (GER/FR), 6+8+6+5+3=28 points
7. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+5+4+8+8=30 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 7+6+7+6+6=32 points