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28 August 2009, 11:45 pm
Gaspic Secures Euro Finn Title Before Medal Race
19 year old Greek Ioannis Mitakis
19 year old Greek Ioannis Mitakis leads the Junior competition

AGB Finance Finn European Championship 2009
Varna, Bulgaria

The fifth day of the AGB Finance 2009 Finn European championship in Varna has tested the nerves of sailors and racing committee.
Very light and fluky, the wind provided two challenging races, won by Tapio Nirkko (FIN) and Mark Andrews (GBR).

Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) sailed confidently in these tricky conditions, scoring a second and a sixth and increasing his lead even further. With an advantage of 29 points over Nirkko, Gaspic has already won the title going into the medal race tomorrow. "I am very happy with the way I have sailed here; I have very good speed and a clear mind to take the right tactical decisions. I look forward to racing in the medal race tomorrow." This will be the first major Finn championship title for Gaspic who has had a great year, winning Hyères and placing third at the Finn Gold Cup last month.

With Gaspic out of reach, Nirkko is going into the Medal Race as the man to beat for silver. 2006 European Champion, Ed Wright (GBR) is one point from the Finnish and has an excellent track record for medal race victories. Marin Misura (CRO) is also in a favourable position, three points away from Nirkko and silver.

With 17 points added to his score on the last race, Giles Scott (GBR) is loosing ground over the top three and the Medal Race will be highly decisive for the young Brit, who lost three places overnight. He is on equal points with Pieter-Jan Postma (NED). These five sailors are the only ones with a chance for a silver or bronze!

Despite scoring two average results Postma remains in sixth position overall. "This was the hardest racing day of the regatta for me. The wind was so light I had to stay focussed. Now I am really looking forward the medal race tomorrow. It will be challenging but that's what I like!" If the wind picks up Postma will be right there!

While young Estonian Karpak climbed one place to seventh thanks to a third place in race nine, Andrew Mills (GBR) suffered from the conditions. He collected his regatta drop and slipped to eighth position overall. They have narrowly missed a podium chance.

Newcomers into the top 10 this week, Peer Moberg (NOR) and Rafal Szukiel (POL) made the most of the tricky conditions to score two good results and climb to ninth and tenth respectively! Moberg, who has been enjoying light conditions, was all smiles and looking forward to the medal race!

It was not a good day for Piotr Kula (POL). The young Pole lost four places and fell out of the top 10. He slips to 13th place after sailing consistently all week and scoring his best result in a major Finn event to date!

Winning the last race was not enough to bring back Andrews into the top 10 after collecting 36 points in race nine. The Scot is in 11th place, missing out on the Medal Race for the third time in a row! "I had a bad feeling this would happen", confided Andrews "I placed 11th at the last two events, the Finn Gold Cup and the Delta Lloyd Regatta!"

The Juniors have pushed themselves hard for the title this week, but also to show the seniors where they stand! After a slow start in the event, 19 year old Greek Ioannis Mitakis placed fifth and 19th today, enjoying the light conditions better suited to his physique! He is 21st overall and has a 37 points lead over yesterday's leader Tomas Vika (CZE) and 50 points over race four winner Jakub Pasik from Poland. "I didn't expect these results!" explained modestly Mitakis. "On the first beat the conditions were very light and I was fast. I rounded the top mark in third place and lost one on each downwind leg to finish fifth." The young Greek scored two top 10 results this week and lead not only the juniors but the also the six boats Greek team.

The Medal Race is scheduled to start at 12:00 on Saturday, with a final race for the rest of the fleet from 13:00.

Results - click here

Corinne Rolland-McKenzie
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