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16 June 2005, 09:58 am
HAGARA Claims Bullet But ECHAVARRI Leads
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Tornado World Championship 2005
La Rochelle, France

Olympic Champions Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT) finally showed their faces at the ISAF Grade WC Tornado World Championship in La Rochelle, France yesterday. However, it is the on form Spanish team of Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ who lead the fleet as the Championship passes it's halfway stage.
The excellent conditions of Tuesday did not repeat themselves yesterday. The sun deserted La Rochelle and the wind started light before increasing through the afternoon.

Olympic gold medallists in both 2000 in Sydney and last year in Athens, HAGARA and STEINACHER, had gone through the opening two days of the Championship without a single top ten finish. In a delayed race five yesterday the pair finally came to the fore, leading from start to finish in light winds to take the bullet.

The battle for second place was a tightly fought contest between the two winners of the ISAF Grade 1 events on this year's European tour. With three top five finishes in the first two days, ECHAVARRI and PAZ looked to be continuing the form that won them the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta in Medemblik. Chasing them for second place in race five were the winners of the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, in April, Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON (FRA). This time the win went to the Spaniards who took their second second place in a row.

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Just three points seperate the
leaders
© Benoit Hervochon

Race six brought better conditions with the wind picking up to 14 knots. The battle for first became a fight between Iordanis PASCHALIDES and Konstantinos TRIGONIS (GRE) and the local team of Yann GUICHARD and Alexandre GUYADER (FRA). After two and a half days of waiting GUICHARD and GUYADER scored the first French bullet of the Championship and consequently move into the top ten on the leaderboard at number nine. Day one leaders, Leigh MCMILLAN and Will HOWDEN (GBR) came in third ahead of Mitch BOOTH and Herbert DERCKSEN (NED).

After passing the halfway stage of the Championship the fleet take a break today with four races remaining. At the end of race six the discard came into play and as a result ECHAVARRI and PAZ climb three places into the pole position. However, nobody in the fleet has been able to string together a consistent series of high finishes and the Spanish pair's satisfaction at being first will be somewhat tempered by their finish of 17 in race six. This slip up means they lead by only three points from MCMILLAN and HOWDEN, who produced the best set of results for the day with a 5,3 record. Along with third place, REVIL and ESPAGNON, the British pair are unique in that they are counting only top ten finishes in their points total. The German team of Jojo POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ lie fourth, four points behind REVIL and ESPAGNON and twelve points off the top spot. PASCHALIDES and TRIGONIS round out the top five, a further four points back.

Further down the leaderboard, the only female skipper of the event, Carolijn BROUWER (NED), with crew, Sebastien GODEFROID (BEL), had her best day of the Championship so far with a finishes of 15 and 13. 'We are finally waking up!' explained the 1998 ISAF World Sailor of the Year, 'We are sailing better tactically and having better starts and that comes with experience. The more we sail the more tuned up we get.'

Tuesday's star performers, Darren BUNDOCK and Aaron WORRALL (AUS), finished race five in seventh position and followed this up with 16 in race six. The four times World Champion moves up to sixth place overall, 23 points from first position. HAGARA and STEINACHER lie three points behind BUNDOCK and WORRALL, after they followed their bullet with eleventh place in race six. With the fleet so competitive the 20 point gap separating these two experienced teams from the top three could vanish in an instant.

The Championship resumes tomorrow with two more races, before the final two races on Saturday.

Top Ten After Six Races

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1 ESP Fernando ECHAVARRI Anton PAZ 1 (36) 4 2 2 17 26
2 GBR Leigh MCMILLAN William HOWDEN 10 1 10 (15) 5 3 29
3 FRA Xavier REVIL Christophe ESPAGNON 7 7 (17) 8 3 9 34
4 GER Johannes POLGAR Florian SPALTEHOLZ 2 9 7 11 9 (20) 38
5 GRE Iordanis PASCHALIDES Konstantinos TRIGONIS (19) 19 3 10 8 2 42
6 AUS Darren BUNDOCK Aaron WORRALL 24 (32) 1 1 7 16 49
7 AUT Roman HAGARA Hans Peter STEINACHER 17 11 28 (19) 1 11 52
8 DEN Peder RONHOLT Mads Moller HANSEN 5 (27) 8 13 11 18 55
9 FRA Yann GUICHARD Alexandre GUYADER (23) 3 11 22 21 1 58
10 NED Mitch BOOTH Herbert DERCKSEN 3 (42) RDG 4 33 4 61.2
ISAF (Source: Event Media). Image, Racing remains tight in France:© Benoit Hervochon
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