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3 July 2009, 09:17 am
BERNTSSON And COL Complete Quarter-Final Line Up In Marstrand
Sweden's Johnie BERNTSSON in action
Sweden's Johnie BERNTSSON earned his place in the quarter-final round

Match Cup Sweden 2009
Marstrand, Sweden

Sweden's Johnie BERNTSSON and Seb COL of France took the final two quarter-final spots at the Match Cup Sweden, whilst current World Tour leader Adam MINOPRIO and reigning World Champion Ian WILLIAMS both crashed out.
Fantastic racing conditions allowed the organizers of Match Cup Sweden, stage five of the World Match Racing Tour, to complete the repechage round which saw Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE) of Berntsson Sailing Team and Sébastien COL (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge emerge as the final two skippers that will join Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) of the French Match Racing Team, Peter GILMOUR's (AUS) YANMAR Racing, Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) and the Mirsky Racing Team, Damien IEHL (FRA) of the French Match Racing Team, Magnus HOLMBERG's (SWE) Victory Challenge and Philippe PRESTI (FRA) of the French Match Racing Team in the quarter-final round, scheduled for Friday.

The repechage round was full of excitement. BERNTSSON was on fire winning all three matches including a nail-biter against Adam MINOPRIO (NZL).

It started badly for BERNTSSON as he was awarded a penalty just after the start for tacking too close to MINOPRIO. It didn't deter BERNTSSON and he was hot on the heels of MINOPRIO after rounding the first mark even managing to roll him down the run. As they approached the leeward mark outside the zone BERNTSSON managed to hook MINOPRIO on port tack subsequently luffing him tacking inside him then bearing away to offload the penalty. BERNTSSON then luffed on starboard tack to take MINOPRIO away from the leeward mark before turning back to lead around the buoy.

The Swedish crowd went ballistic egged on by on-water commentator Martin SOHTEL who sounded like he was about to explode. The action wasn't over as BERNTSSON tacked right in front of MINOPRIO infringing him and earning a red flag immediate penalty due to the controlling position that BERNTSSON gained. MINOPRIO held the lead to the top mark and had to take BERNTSSON way above it in order to stay ahead. As the boats headed downwind MINOPRIO threw in a gybe too close to BERNTSSON and was awarded a penalty for his trouble but MINOPRIO remained ahead and as the teams approached the restricted zone on the left hand side of the course MINOPRIO hoisted his jib, dropped his kite and started attacking BERNTSSON. BERNTSSON followed suit and both boats played cat and mouse as MINOPRIO tried to offload his penalty. BERNTSSON stayed calm and parried every attack whilst slowly pushing MINOPRIO towards the finish. BERNTSSON's plan won out and he crossed the line as MINOPRIO desperately tried to throw in his penalty turn.

A pleased BERNTSSON said, "We didn't perform well in the first stage clearly needing some time to play catch up. We made many mistakes but now we are getting into our stride. My crew were brilliant and today I just hung out at the back and they got me round the course. It's when I do my own thing that it all goes wrong."

The final flight of the repechage left Peter WIBROE (DEN) needing a win and for BERNTSSON and COL to loose in order to get into a three-way tie on five points and an increasingly complex count back depending on the results of the other matches in the flight. But today nothing could stop either BERNTSSON or COL who both blitzed their final matches against Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) and World Champion Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) respectively to dive into the quarter final.

It was a disappointing day for Tour leader MINOPRIO and his ETNZ/BlackMatch team and second placed WILLIAMS and his Bahrain Team Pindar. Both were swept out of the repechage and out the World Championship point scoring zone. Once again WILLIAMS has failed to make the quarter-final round at Match Cup Sweden. Having competed at the event four times he might start to think there is a curse on him.

With all the intense action going on it was easy to forget that the event is only at the halfway stage and all the quarter finalists were invited to the press conference to find out who would choose who. It was RICHARD who started the ball rolling pointing out that he hates the choosing rule as the trend at the recent events has shown that the picker has lost. RICHARD stepped up and chose fellow countryman PRESTI and assured a French Team member will make the semis. Next up was GILMOUR who shied away from a home country match against MIRSKY saying that the young Perth skipper was too hot to handle. He picked BERNTSSON which he felt could be popular because if he won then the crowd may forgive the Match Cup Sweden hall of fame inductee but if he lost then he would have been pushed aside by the young Swede taking a local one step further to the title.

Due to PRESTI already being picked next up was IEHL who wasted no time or talk on singling out HOLMBERG and giving no reason for the choice. HOLMBERG was just happy that he didn't need to be the one to make the choice. That left the on-form MIRSKY up against a resurgent COL. COL said of MIRSKY, "Torvar is on fire. He looks very comfortable here this week with all the beautiful girls around him." MIRSKY's response was to assure everyone that he'd been in bed early every night and was ready for action.

With the women taking to the water this morning it was local hero Anna KJELLBERG (SWE) and Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR) who emerged as the leaders from the round robin after both winning five matches to go on to secure their places in the semi final along with Katie SPITHILL (AUS) and Linda RAHM (SWE). Current World Champion and defending Match Cup Sweden Champion Claire LEROY (FRA) struggled today surprising many by failing to make the cut. The ladies semi finals and finals are on Saturday and MACGREGOR will reveal who she will choose to race on Friday night.

Today's forecast promises more exciting racing with a steady breeze predicted all day. The pairs will compete in a first to the three point round to then go on and qualify for the semi finals. With it all to play for there will be some guaranteed action here in Marstrand.

Results

Repechage

Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 6-1*
Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 6-1*
Peter WIBROE (DEN), Wibroe Racing Team, 5-2
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 3-3
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 3-3
Mattias RAHM (SWE), Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 3-3
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Onico, 1-6
Francesco BRUNI (ITA), Team Joe Fly Match Racing, 1-6

*qualifies for quarter-final round

Round Robin

Group A

Peter GILMOUR (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 4-2*
Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Racing Team, 4-2*
Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing, 4-2*
Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 3-3
Mattias RAHM (SWE), Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 3-3
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Onico, 2-4
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 1-5

Group B

Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 5-1*
Philippe PRESTI (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 4-2*
Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge, 4-2*
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 3-3
Peter WIBROE (DEN), Wibroe Racing Team, 3-3
Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 1-5
Francesco BRUNI (ITA), Team Joe Fly Match Racing, 1-5

*qualifies for quarter-final round

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard
(Top eight teams after Stage 4 of 10)

1. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch, 61 points
2. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 49 points
3. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 48 points
4. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team, 46 points
5. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Team Origin, 40 points
6. Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 32 points
7. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Shosholoza Team, 31 points
8. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 31 points

Match Cup Sweden Women

Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR), 5-2
Anna KJELLBERG (SWE), 5-2
Katie SPITHILL (AUS), 4-3
Linda RAHM (SWE), 4-3
Claire LEROY (FRA), 3-4
Nicky SOUTER (AUS), 3-4
Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN), 3-4
Sally BARKOW (USA), 1-6

The winner of the annual World Match Racing Tour is crowned as ISAF Match Racing World Champion. Find out more at www.sailing.org/matchworlds.

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