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26 October 2006, 08:19 am
Tour Leader Advances To Quarters
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Allianz Cup 2006
San Francisco, USA

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), the leader of the Match Racing World Championship standings, won the Group A round robin at the ISAF Grade WC Allianz Cup Presented by Oracle, Stage 5 of the World Match Racing Tour, taking place in San Francisco, USA.
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WILLIAMS, the 29 year old skipper of Team Pindar, won the group with a 5-2 record. He topped a three-way tiebreaker with Peter HOLMBERG (ISV) of Alinghi and Ben AINSLIE (GBR) of Emirates Team New Zealand, two syndicates for the America's Cup, for the win.

WILLIAMS defeated both in head to head matches for the tiebreaker. HOLMBERG defeated AINSLIE in their flight 2 match to place second and AINSLIE third. Those three advance to Friday's quarter-final round, a knockout series with the first to 3 points advancing.

A Man On Form

WILLIAMS came into the event having won his previous start at the ISAF Grade WC King Edward VII Gold Cup in Bermuda last week, a win that moved him into the lead for the World Championship, pushed up to fourth in the latest release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings and garnered sponsorship from Pindar, the British print and electronic media company. He kept that momentum going today.

'We come in confident as Team Pindar, with the same tactician and trimmers we had in Bermuda,' said WILLIAMS, from Hamble, Great Britain. 'But it's a different field, different boats and different venue. It's a new challenge and we're really pleased to have got through this round and into the quarter-finals.'

Racing on day one of the Allianz Cup was tricky with the wind on San Francisco Bay blowing between the northeast and northwest. That direction afforded great spectator viewing at the St Francis Yacht Club, with the starting line just 50 yards off the club, it was perpendicular to the strong currents.

The current played a role in racing, especially in the ebb tide in the afternoon when the northerly died to 4 to 8 knots. On some runs the spinnakers on the boats were hanging limp, but they were swept down the course by the tide.

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Double Olympic gold
medallist Ben AINSLIE is back
on the World Tour in San
Francisco
© Allianz Cup/Bob GRIESER
'It was a constant decision of what you thought was more important, current or wind,' said HOLMBERG. 'I think we made the mistake early on that current was most important. In the conditions we had today - pretty variable with wind, direction and strength - you had to be smart to know when wind was more important than tide. I think wind was most important.'

AINSLIE Rusty

AINSLIE is competing in his first World Tour event since March. He felt his timing was off slightly in the pre-start.

'We were a bit rusty today,' said AINSLIE. 'Our starts were probably our weak point. I think through the whole thing our boat handling was good and teamwork in general was fantastic. So we need to work on [that] for the future and getting used to these boats as well.'

Chris DICKSON (NZL), skipper and CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing, placed fourth in the round at 4-3, followed by Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), 4-3; Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 2-5; Chris PERKINS (USA), 2-5; and Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), 1-6. HANSEN, however, was penalized 1 point for causing damage in a collision and finished with 0 points.

DICKSON, BERNTSSON and LINDBERG advance to the repechage round, where they will join the fourth thought sixth place finishers from Group B in a round robin. The two top crews in that round advance to the quarterfinals.

Group B is scheduled to begin its round robin today at 10:00.

The Allianz Cup is sponsored by Allianz. The Presenting Sponsor is Oracle and the Main Partners are BMW, Fireman's Fund, Allianz Global Corporate and Speciality, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, NetApp, Pindar Graphics and Alphagraphics.

Allianz Cup Results

Round Robin Standings

Group A
(After 7 of 7 flights)

1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar, 5-2
2. Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Alinghi, 5-2
3. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Emirates Team New Zealand, 5-2
4. Chris DICKSON (NZL), BMW ORACLE Racing, 4-3
5. Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 4-3
6. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team, 2-5
7. Chris PERKINS (USA), Team St Francis Yacht Club, 2-5
8. Björn HANSEN (SWE), Team Apport.net, 1-6

World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(After Stage Four of Fifteen)
Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
1 Ian WILLIAMS GBR 4 Williams Sail Racing 35
2 Mathieu RICHARD FRA 6 Saba Sailing Team 30
3

Sébastien COL

FRA 1 Areva Challenge 29
4 Jes GRAM-HANSEN DEN 24 Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia 27
5 Paolo CIAN ITA 2 Team Viano Mercedes Benz 25
5 Chris DICKSON NZL 5 BMW ORACLE Racing 25
7 Staffan LINDBERG FIN 9 Alandia Sailing Team 16
8 Ed BAIRD USA 22 Alinghi 20
8 Jesper BANK DEN 57 United Internet Team Germany 20
8 Magnus HOLMBERG SWE 42 Victory Challenge 20

World Match Racing Tour Schedule
(2006-2007 Season)

Stage Event Venue Date
Stage 1 Portugal Match Cup Cascais, Portugal 18-23 July 2006
Stage 2 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark 9-13 August 2006
Stage 3 St. Moritz Match Race St. Moritz, Switzerland 15-20 August 2006
Stage 4 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda 10-15 October 2006
Stage 5 Allianz Cup San Francisco, USA 24-29 October
Stage 6 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 28 November-3 December 2006
Stage 7 Match Race Germany Langenargen, Germany 23-28 May 2007
Stage 8 Portugal Match Cup Cascais, Portugal July 2007
Stage 9 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark August 2007
Stage 10 St. Moritz Match Race St. Moritz, Switzerland August 2007
Stage 11 ACI Adris Match Race Cup Rovinj, Croatia September 2007
Stage 12 Locman Cup - Elba Island Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy September 2007
Stage 13 Brasil Sailing Cup Angra dos Reis, Brazil October 2007
Stage 14 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda October 2007
Stage 15 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 20 November-2 December 2007

The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. Skippers earn points towards the World Championship at the nine events of the World Tour and the highest scoring skipper at the end of the season is the ISAF Match Racing World Champion.

The World Tour Partner and Official Car is BMW AG (Munich, Germany). World Tour sponsors include Sebago (Rockford, USA), the Official Footwear Supplier, Travel Places (West Sussex, Great Britain), the Official Travel Partner and Wedgwood (Cheshire, Great Britain) the Official Trophy Supplier.

For more information on the World Match Racing Tour, its competitors and events, visit the official World Tour website - www.WorldMatchRacingTour.com. World Match Racing Tour television programmes may be viewed on demand by clicking on the television icon on the home page of the website.

For all the news on the World Match Racing Tour CLICK HERE.

Sean MCNEILL (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Chris PERKINS (right) has Chris DICKSON pinned to leeward at the start of their flight 1 match:© Allianz Cup/Bob GRIESER
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