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18 September 2005, 09:51 am
GRAEL Takes Charge
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Match Race Brasil 2005
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Torben GRAEL (BRA) has taken the lead of the qualifying series in the final leg of the 2005 ISAF Grade 3 Match Race Brasil, a boat-against-boat competition that gathers some of the most prominent Brazilian sailors and special foreign guests on Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro. The event's back-to-back winner won four out of five regattas sailed in the first two days and is once again leading the race for the overall title.

'It's still early to celebrate or talk about the title,' said GRAEL, two-time Olympic champion and the biggest medal winner in the history of Olympic sailing. 'With the exception of our defeat to Simon MINOPRIO [(NZL)], we had good performances.'

GRAEL specially liked the triumph over his direct opponent in the battle for the title, Andre FONSECA (BRA). 'We made a mistake in the start and they got a good lead. But we recovered and won a very important regatta,' said the skipper, happy with his lead. 'I like to compete in a variety of wind conditions, just as is happening in this leg.'

The competition is still closely fought. After GRAEL, four teams are tied in second place with three wins each: Brazilians Alexandre SALDANHA and Daniel GLOMB, Spaniard Jordi CALAFAT and New Zealand's MINOPRIO. Alan ADLER (BRA), has only one victory so far, whilst Bruno BETHLEM (BRA) has two.

'We're in good shape, but the qualification won't be easy,' admitted SALDANHA, who will face ADLER and FONSECA in his final matches. 'They're two very difficult opponents. We never beaten FONSECA, for example. But it's good to know that we can get the spot only with our own efforts'.

Meanwhile, co-leader FONSECA didn't have such a good day, with a single victory over BETLHEM and defeats by GRAEL, GLOM and MINOPRIO. He can sum up only three victories and has just two more regattas to sail, against SALDANHA and ADLER.

Once more the Nivea Sun Cup - Women's Sailing Cup regattas were cancelled because of the late schedule due to lane changing, caused by the wind shift.

Event Media. Image:© Hector Etchebaster
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