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27 April 2006, 12:12 pm
TZANOV Aims For Big Finish
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Maktoum Sailing Trophy 2006
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Kristian TZANOV (BUL) switched his attention from powerboat racing to the Maktoum Sailing Trophy today as he set his sights on clinching the Gulf region's top fleet racing event next weekend, and defending the title in the UAE in twelve months' time.
Back in GCC Class 3 Powerboat Championship action in Abu Dhabi this morning, just six days after a spectacular crash in Dubai, TZANOV took twelfth place to finish ninth overall in the series.

Top priority now for the owner of the K1 Offshore Racing Team is next weekend's climax to the Maktoum Sailing Trophy in which his 44.7 foot yacht, sponsored by Pal Zileri, holds a commanding lead and looks virtually unbeatable.

While his crew was winning last weekend's non stop 24 hour third round, TZANOV was involved in a 160 kph crash as his Class 3 boat flipped in Dubai. He escaped unhurt, although his boat had to undergo major 'surgery' before the final event in Abu Dhabi.

Quickly turning his attention to the Maktoum Sailing Trophy, the former moto cross rider confirmed that his team will enter two boats in next year's series, which they expect to start as defending champions, although there will be no premature celebrations.

Taking Nothing For Granted

'We haven't won the trophy yet,' he declared. 'It's never over until the last race has been run. You never know what can happen. I just want us to produce our best performance, and if we do that should be good enough.'

Added TZANOV, 'I'm looking forward to sailing again, and I've already decided to make an investment in a second boat for next year's Maktoum Trophy. We've have enjoyed the series and it will go from strength to strength.'

Dubai International Marine Club has already announced that next year's series will be given a new ten day format to attract more foreign competitors, and TZANOV welcomes the challenge from overseas.

He put out a fully local crew last weekend and they pulled off another win, although the three Italian professionals who were on board for the first two rounds will return for next weekend's final series of short course races off Dubai International Marine Club.

Mina Regatta Adds To Final Event

The climax to the 2006 series will be highlighted by the Mina Regatta, a big weekend of family and corporate entertainment being staged at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina in conjunction with the final round. It is part of a programme of activities being introduced to establish the emirate as a major international sailing venue.

The Maktoum Trophy scoring system awards teams points for their finishing position in each race, starting with one point for a race win, two for second place and so on, meaning the team with the lowest points total comes out on top. Having won four out of five races in round one with one third place, followed by five out of five wins in round two and victory in round three, TZANOV's team lead 2005 champions Horizon FCB by 13 points to 23.

As a result it will take a final round disaster to let in Horizon for a second successive title, although the 36.7 foot yacht's joint French skippers, Christophe VANEK and Alain FÉDENSIEU, will be aiming to round off the season in style. So will David ROSTANT, Will RAMAGE and Cam PRICE (UAE), the trio in charge of Switchblade, the only other boat to win a race in this year's series, which lies another nine points away in third place.

Sid BENSALAH, sailing director at DIMC and the regatta chairman, will announce details of the course at a skippers' briefing on Wednesday. 'There's going to be a surprise,' he said. 'We wanted to do something different for the final round.'

The first of the two scheduled third round races next Thursday will get underway at 1325 local time, with three more races following on Friday, beginning at 1025. The 2006 Maktoum Sailing Trophy will be rounded off the following evening by the prizegiving and gala dinner at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina.

For a complete list of all the news from the Maktoum Sailing Trophy 2006 CLICK HERE.

Tony LEWIS (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The Maktoum Sailing Trophy reaches its climax next weekend:© Bob MCCAFFREY/Total Communications
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