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19 September 2007, 04:06 pm
WILLIAMS Holds On To World Tour Lead
Image of Ian WILLIAMS
Ian WILLIAMS still leads the World Tour

Latium Match Cup 2007
Fiumicino, Italy

Based on the results from the Latium Match Cup, Team Pindar's Ian WILLIAMS retains a healthy 32-point lead in the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard, but the race has tightened considerably for second through fourth places.
Only five points now separate Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) Saba Sailing Team, PAOLO CIAN (ITA) Shosholoza, and Sebastien COL (FRA) Areva Challenge, on the Tour leaderboard.

The close in points occurred because of the modest showings in last week's event in Fiumicino from RICHARD, who placed ninth, and CIAN, who placed fifth, while COL advanced 20 points to close the gap based on his runners-up finish to James SPITHILL (AUS). Even Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) could manage only a sixth among a tough field of 12 teams which included the current World Champion and the current ISAF #1 ranked skipper and six teams representing syndicates from the 32nd America's Cup. Despite this, SPITHILL and his team from Luna Rossa found form sailing the event's Solaris 36s and won every match they raced.

The Tour's next stop is in Hamilton, Bermuda for the King Edward VII Gold Cup, to be held over 9-14 October. One of the oldest events on the Tour, racing will be in the venerable International One Design, with four rather than five crew on each team. Tour leader WILLIAMS will have his hands full defending his title this year, since a total field of 24 teams will be vying for a piece of the $100,000 prize purse including recent America's Cup winner Ed BAIRD (USA).

After Bermuda, the World Tour continues with the Brazil Sailing Cup (13-18 November) in Vitoria, Brazil. The final event on the Tour is the Monsoon Cup in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia (28 November-2 December), where the World Champion will be crowned. This event will have 200 points on offer and skippers must count this event in their final score.

"It's not surprising the Tour leaderboard is tightening like this," said Tour Director Scott MACLEOD. "There are still three events left with plenty of points available, so a late charge could see a team climb up through the ranks and take the title."

SPITHILL himself says the Tour could be won by anyone. "Its very, very tough on the Tour now," he said in Fiumicino. "The guys that are here are the Peter GILMOURs of today, very talented, very tough, and winning comes down to just the smallest margins."

World Match Racing Tour -

Yvonne Reid (As Amended By ISAF)
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