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26 January 2006, 02:14 pm
Germans Under Pressure
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Dubai Match Race 2006
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Early pace-setters Germany came under pressure in the Dubai Match Race today as India, Italy and one of the three UAE-based clubs battling for honours stepped up their bids for a place in Sunday's title showdown.
After dominating the first round robin series over the two previous days, Germany began the third day of the Emirates Airline-sponsored event with their eighth consecutive match victory against the Dubai International Marine Club team skippered by Frenchman Cedric LE REST.

But Sven Erik HORSCH'S crew then suffered their first two defeats in quick succession. They were beaten by the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club team skippered by Australian Mark FEILBERG who had to overcome a penalty, and then lost to Italy's Simone FERRARESE.

HORSCH said: 'We started with a clean sweep of eight wins but the last two results have been disappointing. But we still hope to be in first place at the end of this series.'

FEILBERG'S win over the Germans was his second in a row following victory over the Italians in the day's opening flight. But a problem with the gennaker in his third match of the day brought defeat at the hands of LE REST who recovered from an earlier loss to Italy.

With Germany still leading the round robin series overall, India skippered by Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN quickly moved level with FEILBERG'S crew and the Italians on six wins.

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Ahmed SHAHEEN in action
© Event Media
While the Indians then outsmarted John BACK's Swedish team the all-ladies Finnish crew led by Silja LEHTINEN saw off the challenge of the other DIMC boat skippered by talented young UAE contender Ahmed SHAHEEN.

Each of the crews were gradually becoming more relaxed as they familiarised themselves with the new V1/Lutra-30 Sport Boat built in Dubai and being used competitively for the first time this week.

'We're all in the same boat, literally, and we're all getting to know it better as we go on,' said FEILBERG. 'Normally the teams from the host club have a big advantage from sailing their home boat. But because this one is so new there's no advantage to be had.'

Sweden, skippered by John BACK, snatched successive victories against Finland and Ahmed SHAHEEN'S Dubai team. The Finns crossed the finish line first but lost out through a technical infringement. SHAHEEN had earlier led his crew to a match win over India who picked up two penalties and later suffered defeat at the hands of the Finns.

India bounced back in the next flight with victory over the Italians while FEILBERG collected two penalties and lost his match against SHAHEEN.

In the final two matches of the day India beat DOSC to pull level with the Germans while Italy scored another win when SHAHEEN pulled out of their match after the boat was halted by an obstruction affecting the keel

Organised by DIMC in conjunction with the UAE Marine Sports Federation, the event is co-sponsored by Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, the official hotel, Marine Pool and V1 Advanced Composite Technologies. Other official suppliers for the event are Trek, Al Boom Marine, Dubai's Victory Team, Duboats, El Mundo, Nordest and Olympic Sails.

Narayan MARAR (As Amended by ISAF). Image, Action from Dubai:© Jorge FERRARI
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