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18 March 2008, 09:00 am
National Selections Spice Up Racing In Palma
Action from Monday's racing
It's tight at the top in the Yngling fleet

HRH Princess Sofia Trophy 2008
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Medium breeze and sunshine provided for another day of superb racing in the bay of Palma on day two of the ISAF Grade 2 Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia MAPFRE.
In many classes, the teams in contention for Olympic selections are having very close battles.

The Russian Yngling trio of Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA, #1 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, have closed the gap on country rivals after winning comfortably both races today. They have climbed to second position overall behind Anna BASALKINA, Vladislava UKRAINCEVA and Ekaterina MAXIMOVA (RUS), who conserved their lead of the Yngling fleet after consistent sailing (3,3).

"This is our second Olympic selection regatta," explained IVANOVA. "We are leading by 11 points and the SOF in Hyères will be the last. We love sailing here and are pretty confident. We have trained in Palma for five months during the last two years. This is the best place in Europe for sailing."

The light conditions are no real advantage with both teams more comfortable in this type of breeze. Last year's winners, Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Debbie CAPOZZI (USA) have taken the third place from the British World Champions after placing second twice. In another battle for Olympic selection, the French teams are within a point of each others in eighth and ninth positions. Anne-claire LE BERRE, Alice PONSAR and Marion DEPLANQUE, have a head start in their national selections after a sixth at the Worlds in Miami. The Trofeo Sofia MAPFRE is the second stage in their selection that will conclude at the European championship. They are facing strong competition against, Anne LE HELLEY and her team, who placed fifth at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

The Polish Finn sailors are having a separate race within the main regatta. Placed in seventh, eighth and ninth position, it is also a tight battle for Olympic selection. However junior sailor Piotr KULA who leads the SZUKIEL brothers by 11 and 16 points in this regatta, has to catch up on lots of points after the first two selection events last year. The Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE is the penultimate stage with the last hurdle in Hyères late April.

In another race of his own is the "untouchable" Ben AINSLIE (GBR)! The Laser and Finn Olympic gold medallist has confirmed he is still at home in Palma after taking two bullets in Monday's Finn racing. His last appearance in El Arenal dates from 2004 when he claimed no less than seven races in the regatta! Zach RAILEY (USA) conserved his second place overall while Gasper VINCEC (SLO) loses 11 places from third to 14th after a disqualification at the start of race 3.

Britain also leads in the Laser as Paul GOODISON (GBR) keeps control of the large fleet and is joined by team mate Nick THOMPSON (GBR). Both wonn their group last race. A DNC in the third race costs 29 places to Andreas GERITZER (AUT) who falls from second to 31st.

So far it has been a faultless regatta in the Laser Radial for Petra NIEMANN (GER), who added two more race victories to Sunday's wins. Norwegians Anette MYHRE and Cathrine GJERPEN are on equal points in second and third position.

It was also a perfect day for Ivan PASTOR LAFUENTE (ESP), who gains five places to fourth overall after two bullets in the Men's RS:X class. Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) maintained his overall lead while Israeli windsurfers Shahar ZUBARI and Nimrod MASHICH collected similar results and have climbed to second and third places on equal points.

There have been tight scores in the 49er fleet where the PECKOLT brothers, Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKOLT (GER) are the new leaders after consistent top-three results. The British pair Paul CAMPBELL-JAMES and Mark ASQUITH dropped to sixth overall, but are still only eight points from the top. The European Championship next week has attracted most of the top 49er sailors to Mallorca, making for a very high level of competition at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE.

There has also been a change of leadership in the Tornado with Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON (FRA) narrowly taking first position from the Germans Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ after winning the day's last race.

The Italian teams have taken the lead in three classes in Mallorca. Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) made the most of the shifty conditions on the Women's 470 race area to win the first race and place fifth in the second. Early leaders, Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE and Laia TUTZO (ESP) were not so lucky on Monday. They drop from first to fifth overall after scoring 24th in the third race. German team Stefanie ROTHWEILER and Vivien KUSSATZ place second overall after winning the last race of the day. In the men's fleet, Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA) have progressed from third to first overall thanks to top-five results in the regatta. They are on equal point with Javier CONTE and Juan DE LA FUENTE (ARG), who moved up four places after a near-perfect day where the Argentineans placed second and first.

Women windsurfers Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) and Marina ALABAU (ESP) are still neck and neck after again scoring similar points (a second place and a win)! They are first and second on six points and enjoy a comfortable 20-point lead over Skandia Team GBR sailor Bryony SHAW.

Despite a pessimistic weather forecast before the start of the regatta, the competition has so far been sailed with a medium, sometimes shifty, sea breeze varying from 8 to 12 knots. A picturesque sunset ended the second day of racing in Palma predicting (a common knowledge here) stronger wind for Tuesday!

Results - click here
Princess Sofia Trophy - www.trofeoprincesasofia.org

Corinne Rolland-Mckenzie (As Amended By ISAF)
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