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28 March 2008, 05:03 pm
ALONSO Brothers Take The Lead At 49er Europeans
Federico and Arturo ALONSO
Federico and Arturo ALONSO were on top form in today's lighter conditions

49er European Championship 2008
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Spain still leads at the 49er Europeans but now it's Federico and Arturo ALONSO who occupy the top spot following the a day of more moderate conditions in Palma.
The brothers from Asturias were the best team on the fourth day of racing day in Palma, Spain, overturning a 25-point deficit on overnight leaders Iker MARTINEZ and Xabi FERNANDEZ (ESP) to hit the top of the leaderboard. MARTINEZ and FERNANDEZ, the defending European Champions and gold medallists at the Athens Olympic Games, dropped down to second overall after three bad results in today's races, although they are just one point behind their compatriots. The young Austrian team of Nico Delle Kart & Nikolaus Leopold Resch lie in third place overall, just five points further back.

Lighter SW (195º) winds, 10 to 12 knots, blew today in the racing area of Club Nàutic S'Arenal, in the bay of Palma. It was the first day of the championship in which the wind provided a rest to the 64 crews from 22 nations that are participating in the 49er European Championship - Madrid 2016, which finishes this Sunday.

During the first three days of the championship, MARTINEZ and FERNANDEZ showed they are without rival in strong winds, leading the overall standings from the first day and increasing their advantage day by day; however, today things changed. Despite their big lead, FERNANDEZ had warned yesterday that things were far from over and he was proved right today. The Spaniard certainly were not complacent, but neither the conditions nor the luck were on their side today. They didn't start well and didn't manage to gain places throughout the races. With a 16, 20 and 13 the 2004 Athens gold medallists lost their lead in favour of their sparring team Federico ALONSO and Arturo ALONSO (ESP).

The second crew of the Real Federación Española de Vela team knew how to take advantage of this opportunity. The ALONSO brothers started the fifth day of the championship with a bullet in the first race, followed it up with a second and then a 15th (their exclude). They move one-point clear at the top of the leaderboard, with just one more day of racing tomorrow before Sunday's Medal Race.

Nico DELLE - KARTH and Nikolaus RESCH climbed back up to third overall, after today's scores of 3,1,11 put them one point in front of Ukrainian sailors Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK. The Ukrainian team put in a similar performance (1,3,21) to the Austrians, but with a worse result in the last race of the day. In fact, this was a common factor today with all crews, two good results out of three.

Thirteen points down the standings, there were also changes in fifth place overall which is now taken by the American team of Tim WADLOW and Christopher RAST. The US tandem took full advantage of a penalty by the Italian brothers Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO in the second race of the day. The Italian world #1 crew finished ninth in the race, but once ashore retired from the race, probably to avoid a bigger penalty from the Jury due to an incident. The brothers had earlier finished fourth in the first race of the day, but this penalty together with the 20th of the third race, dropped them from fifth to sixth overall.

Peter KRUGER ANDERSEN and Dennis ANDERSEN (DEN) are seventh overall, just ahead of the reigning World Champs Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN (AUS). The Australians had another good day today, climbing up two places to eighth overall. The German PECKOLT brothers also are up two places and are among the top ten.

The top ten to contest the Medal Race will be decided tomorrow following the last two races of the final series. Only the top ten teams will sail the Medal Race on Sunday. It will be a 30-minute race that scores double and cannot be discarded. The podium will not be decided until this last, final race is completed.

Results - click here
49er European Championship - http://49er.cnarenal.com/49er

Neus Jordi
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