Finishing second at two Trophy Regattas last year, in Cascais and on these same waters off the Sardinian capital, Jochen Schuemann and Sebastien Col and the international crew of Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE won their first ever Audi MedCup Circuit regatta on Sunday with a comfortable nine points margin over the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team who also completed their best overall finish of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit season so far.
The Franco-German alliance win the 52 Series' Region of Sardinia Trophy and put behind them a catalogue of weak early season finishes by composing a scoreline which included a telling victory in Saturday's high points value 25 miles coastal race and two race wins from this maximum nine race complement which was sailed on the Gulf of Cagliari.
Just as they got the best yet from their very powerful Vrolijk design which the crew have struggled to find the best gears for across the wind ranges, so also did Vasco Vascotto (ITA), Francesco Bruni (ITA) and the team which sail for Sardinia's Yacht Club Costa Smerelda.
The Audi backed 1-2 here, by the twins which were built on different sides of the world, Audi ALL4ONE in Australia and Audi Azzura in Valencia, highlighted not just a turnround of fortunes for the two teams which have struggled for consistency, but how open the Audi MedCup Circuit is this season.
Three different crews have now won successive 52 Series Trophy Regattas but Cascais Trophy winners Quantum Racing (USA) finished fifth overall here, one place behind the Marseille Trophy winners Container (GER), while José Cusí's Bribón (ESP) team secured their first podium finish of the season by taking third.
Heading for next month's Region of Murcia Trophy, Quantum Racing do leave Cagliari, Sardinia with their overall 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit lead intact at seven points ahead of Udo Schuetz's Container who were 11 points behind after Marseille, but the final day of this regatta was a perplexing one for the current world champions.
They were only coming off the start line of the first race in the breezy Mistral condition when their starboard running backstay failed and they were forced to forfeit the race, their first retirement from a race due to gear failure in the four seasons that the team has been together.
Repaired for the second contest, Ed Baird and crew lead in the 21-25kts breeze but were wrong footed on the final beat, on the wrong side of a wind shift, but then compounded their woes by having to take a pair of penalty turns for a mark rounding infringement to finish seventh across the line.
If their finish to the regatta was not what was required of the Circuit leaders, on the contrary the strength of the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team's second half of the event was to behold, returning a 2,3,2 and winning in the final race today. They went from last to second in just two days.
The Mistral winds were towards the top of the range for racing again at times today. Container unfolded a stunning repeat of the strategy which won them the first race of the regatta, ripping apart Audi Azzurra's 80 metres lead when they scythed down the left of the final run in much more wind pressure to eclipse the home team on the finish line.
But in the second race Audi Azzurra Sailing Team made no errors and combined solid strategies, good boat handling and ample speed to win conclusively ahead of their twin rivals on Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE.
Region of Sardinia Trophy
Final results after nine races:
1. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FRA), 4+1+3+3+1+5+1,5+6+2=26,5 points
2. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+3+6+7+5+2+4,5+2+1=35,5 points
3. Bribón (ESP), 7+4+5+2+2+4+6+3+4=37 points
4. Container (GER), 1+2+7+4+7+1+9+1+6=38 points
5. Quantum Racing (USA), 6+6+2+1+3+6+3+8 (DNF)+7=42 points
6. RÁN (SUE), 2+5+4+6+6+3+10,5+4+3=43,5 points
7. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 3+7+1+5+4+7+7,5+5+5=44,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+13,5+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC) = 85,5points
2011 Audi MedCup Circuit
Standings after 3 events
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 19 + 30 + 42= 91 points
2. Container (GER), 31,5 + 28,5+38= 98 points
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 32,5 + 37+35,5= 105 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 37 + 39,5+44,5= 121 points
5. Bribón (ESP), 47,5 + 38+37= 122,5 points
5. Ràn (SUE), 40,5+41,5+43,5= 125,5 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FRA) 58 + 43,5+26,5 =128 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 85,5 + 47+85,5= 218 points