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4 July 2008, 09:29 am
Quarter Finalists Emerge At Match Cup Sweden
Mathieu RICHARD keeps a close eye on his competition
Mathieu RICHARD keeps a close eye on his competition at Match Cup Sweden

GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2008
Marstrand, Sweden

Mathieu RICHARD won the round robin at Match Cup Sweden to get his pick of quarter-final opponents, whilst the reigning World Champion and the Stage 2 World Tour event winner both failed to qualify amidst tough competition
The phenomenally warm and sunny weather has persisted in Marstrand, bringing out an estimated 35,000 spectators on Thursday to watch the final flights of the round robin in Match Cup Sweden. As the crowd lounged in swim suits on the outcrops overlooking the race area, 12 teams fought hard to determine who would make it to the next quarter final round, where eight will be competing for their share of the $200,000 total purse in the fourth stage of the World Match Racing Tour.
Leading the pack was last year's runner-up on the Tour, Mathieu RICHARD and his French Match Racing Team, who managed to win nine of his eleven matches. This is an impressive record indeed given the strong field here at this event, where the reigning World Champion Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Team Pindar and Damien IEHL (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team, winner of Tour Stage 2 at Match Race Germany, did not qualify.

"We hope to continue this momentum into the next round," said RICHARD, as we had a good feeling on board and we will try and continue this."

RICHARD will meet eighth place finisher Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) and his Alandia Sailing Team, who is the returning champion of this event from last year and a runner-up at the Tour's first stage event, the Brasil Sailing Cup. HANSEN just squeaked through with five wins on a tie-break with Sébastien COL (FRA) of the French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, and WILLIAMS, but it was the British who did not go through.

"We are obviously very disappointed, because normally five wins is enough to get through to the next round, and I thought in general we were sailing well. But we just didn't have the opportunities come to us today, so we'll look forward to doing better at the next event," said WILLIAMS. And even though Team Pindar faltered here last year as well, WILLIAMS said he still felt "This is a fantastic event, one of the best on the Tour."

After being defeated in his last match, WILLIAMS still did not give up, having filed a red-flag protest for redress against the Race Committee, alleging his call for having not entered in the last match by a mere 10 cm was due to inconsistencies in the way the race managers are judging the ends of the starting line. The Jury disallowed the request, so the results were allowed to stand.

But one match WILLIAMS did win was one of the more exciting of the day, where Peter GILMOUR (AUS) and his PST Team received a penalty flag while tacking off the rocks on the second beat of the race. Then at the top mark GILMOUR tried to set a trap for WILLIAMS by luffing him well upwind of the windward mark, but in so doing earned himself yet another penalty. Required to shed this penalty turn straight away, Gilly instead delayed enough to prompt yet a third penalty, and earn a disqualifying black flag, his second in this event.

Despite this glitch, GILMOUR finished fourth in the round robin and thus will meet his younger Australian protégé Torvar MIRSKY and the Mirsky Racing Team. This event last year was MIRSKY's debut on the Tour, having gained an invitation at GILMOUR's urging when the elder Australian had to attend to a coaching obligation at the America's Cup, and the two had trained together in their home port of Perth. So Friday will be like a contest between the Master and his Apprentice, where the score is now even: MIRSKY defeated GILMOUR in last month's Korea Match Cup, and GILMOUR defeated MIRSKY on Thursday in the round robin.

Other pairings for Friday include: Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) and his Victory Challenge team against Korea Match Cup winner COL, and Match Cup Germany runner-up Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN) and his Trifork Racing Team pitted against day one's leader Mattias RAHM (SWE) and his Stena Bulk Racing team.

Round Robin Results

1. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team 9-2
2. Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge 7-4
3. Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN), Trifork Racing Team 7-4
4. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST Team 7-4
5. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team 6-5
6. Mattias RAHM (SWE), Stena Bulk Racing 6-5
7. Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge 5-6
8. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team 5-6
9. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar 5-6
10. Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Team 4-7
11. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Team Origin 4-7
12. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza 1-10

World Tour Standings
(After 3 events of 9)

1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) - Team Pindar - 47 points
2. Sébastien COL (FRA) - K Challenge/French Match Racing Team - 33 points
2. Paolo CIAN (ITA) - Team Shosholoza - 33 points
4. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) - Alandia Sailing Team- 32 points
5. Damien IEHL (FRA) - Team Sinbad - 25 points
5. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) - French Match Racing Team - 25 points
7. Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN) - Trifork Racing - 20 points
8. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) - ETNZ/BlackMatch - 15 points

ISAF Match Racing World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/matchworlds
Yvonne Reid
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