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18 May 2009, 01:51 pm
Matador Win 2009 Audi MedCup Season Opener
The Matador team in action
The Matador team in action

Audi MedCup - City of Alicante Trophy 2009
Alicante, Spain

A very modest trio of results across Saturday's races proved a spur to the Argentinean Matador team to come out fighting and post the best pair of scores in the TP52 fleet to win the City of Alicante Trophy on Sunday after a very close fought first regatta of the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit.
From the disappointment of Saturday's mixed bag of 7,5,5 Alberto ROEMMERS' (ARG) team had a long debrief to analyse where they felt they had made mistakes. Perhaps it was the catalyst which set them up to eliminate their weaknesses, to start well in both races on Sunday, sailing fast and smart to clinch their first MedCup regatta win since 2007 when they won the prestigious Copa del Rey in Palma.

"That feels like a job well done," commented skipper Guillermo PARADA (ARG). "It has been very, very hard these past two and a half months making sure we got here in the best shape possible and were ready to race in Palma last month and sail testing and training in Valencia. We had very good training with El Desafio and Bribon which made the difference for us."

In 9-12 knots of sea breeze conditions and perfect early season Mediterranean sunshine the four leading protagonists Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Artemis (SWE), Matador and reigning champions Quantum Racing (USA) lined up side by side off the start line in the first race. Emirates Team New Zealand profited from good upwind speed and an excellent start to win the first race and earn a four points lead.

As Matador seized the lead early on the first leg of the final race, Emirates Team New Zealand looked to have done enough to score a maiden regatta win with their new boat when they rounded fourth, less than a boat length behind Artemis and with a four boat cushion to Quantum Racing.

But on the first downwind they chose to carry on to the right for a matter of minutes after Quantum Racing and Artemis had gybed away. They rounded sixth then compounded their troubles when they lost Quantum Racing on the finish line to end the regatta third overall behind Artemis.

Dean BARKER (NZL), skipper Emirates Team New Zealand, was none too happy, "It was ours to win and we sailed a pretty poor last race. We were in good shape at the first mark and we lost a lot of places. We lost on the first downwind. Everything looks easy in retrospect and we should have gybed, but at the time it felt like we were doing the right thing. We just kept battling away and only needed one boat on the final run but unfortunately we lost one."

For the Matador team, who led after day one, victory is a just reward for two and half months of hard work to prepare their new Judel Vrolijk-design which was build near Valencia. Three excellent periods of training in Valencia and Palma ensured the team reached the season's first regatta in good shape.

Only one single point in the TP52s settled the regatta. Two points separated all three new 2009 TP52s which monopolized the top positions from the defending champions Quantum Racing in fourth.

Russell COUTTS (NZL), tactician onboard Artemis, said this year's Audi MedCup season is set to be tighter than ever, "The racing is really close, the four top boats are really tight, and there is a whole bunch of other boats which can win races too. We don't have as many boats this year but the quality is very high, quality is higher."

Seven different boats of the 12 strong fleet won races, only Emirates Team New Zealand and Matador won two apiece.

Results - click here
Sabina Mollart-Rogerson (As Amended By ISAF)
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