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20 March 2008, 07:31 pm
Medal Race Line Ups Decided In Palma
The start of the Men's RS:X race
The Men's RS:X fleet get underway

HRH Princess Sofia Trophy 2008
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Winds that were alternatively too strong and too weak added up to a reduced programme of races on day five at the ISAF Grade 2 Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE.
The fifth day of racing at the 39th Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma de Mallorca, Spain didn't live to its expectations.

Too strong in the morning, shifty at lunch time and dying in the afternoon, the wind allowed for ten races only to be completed across all the classes. The 470 men and women fleets had their hopes cut short after their races were cancelled after the start. The same fate also occurred during the second race in the Finn and Laser Radial. The Laser standard fleets didn't even hit the water. Two races were successfully sailed in the Yngling, Tornado, 49er and RS:X events.

In the 49er fleet, Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKOLT (GER) claimed back the pole position they held earlier this week. With a sixth and a first on Thursday, they proved they can handle both light and strong winds. However, their margin is minimal with just a two-point lead over Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello (ITA), who collected a fourth bullet today, and three points from third placed Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR). The Australians Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN missed an opportunity to perform in the breeze after collecting a disqualification at the start of the first race. The World Champions are placed in fourth position but still within reach of the title. The top ten teams qualified for the Medal Race represent ten nations, a good indication of the high quality of the fleet who has gathered in Mallorca before the European Championship next week.

Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) increased his lead to 15 points in the Men's RS:X fleet with a second and a first on Thursday.

"The wind was shifty and you had to be really on the ball!! I sailed really well today. I sailed fast, made no mistake, and went the right way: I had a solid day!" said the British windsurfer.

While DEMPSEY will prove hard to beat in Friday's Medal Race, the other places on the podium are open with only ten points between Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) in second position and Byron KOKKALANIS (GRE) in eighth. The Olympic selection between Casper BOUMAN (NED) and Dorian VAN RIJSSELBERGE (NED) will resume in Hyères. Despite an irregular regatta, BOUMAN has secured a place in the Medal Race, while his team mate will settle for a 15th position.

"We train together but Dorian is more and more becoming the competition," admitted BOUMAN. "This regatta is very important for me because I want to win the Olympic selections."

RIJSSELBERGHE has a more relaxed approach: "We train together and it goes really well. I don't feel the pressure because of the selection. I will just see how it goes and will make the most of it!" he said.

The French Women's RS:X sailors Faustine MERRET and Charline PICON suffered from the shifty conditions. While MERRET loses two places to fifth overall, PICON drops out of the most coveted top ten to 12th overall, losing five places after finishing in the 20th in both races. Blanca MANCHON (ESP) is the new entry in the top ten in seventh position. Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) and Marina ALABAU (ESP) have placed first and second (or vice-versa!) all week but could be threatened tomorrow by Bryony SHAW (GBR) and Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) in third and fourth position overall. The Pole sailed to perfection on Thursday with two victories.

Another victory for ChrisCOOK (CAN) in the only Finn race today brings the Canadian up into tenth place and in contention for the Medal Race. The three Polish sailors, pressured by their selection fall just outside the top ten, four points apart in 11th, 12th and 13th positions! The gap increased at the top with big margins between the top three. It is a done deal for Ben AINSLIE (GBR) who enjoys a 23-point lead over Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO). The Croatian is also pretty safe with 18 points gap from Zach RAILEY (USA) who is his only threat for the silver medal.

A full week of racing was not enough to separate the two Russian Yngling teams in contention for Olympic selection. They each took a race but it is now Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA who will enter the Medal Race in the lead. In another Olympic selection dual, the French team are here "under the scrutiny" of their Federation, Anne LE HELLEY's boat takes the lead over Anne-Claire LE BERRE's team and sneak into ninth position. LE BERRE is missing out the Medal Race by just one point in 11th place!

As expected, Petra NIEMANN (GER) leads the Laser Radial fleet by 22 points. The Medal Race will be a German affair with five sailors in the top ten!

In the Tornado fleet, Austrians Thomas ZAJAC and Thomas CZAJKA scored their first victory of the regatta. With eight boats on the starting line, the Tornados will have a last normal fleet race to close their regatta.

Cancelled races in the Laser standard and the 470 fleets have cut short the last hopes to climb into the top ten. Placed in second place overall, Stefanie ROTHWEILER and Vivien KUSSATZ (GER) had slipped out of the top ten on Wednesday after hitting something in the water and retiring from the race. At only a point from the Medal Race, the Germans, who are among the class favourites, had no chance to come back and make the Medal Race line up.

The Medal Races are scheduled from 12:00 on Friday with the first start given to the Yngling, Finn and 49er.

A light southwesterly reaching 10 knots is expected.

Don't miss the excitement with the Race Online on the event website which will bring you the races "live" mark by mark!

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

Corinne Rolland-Mckenzie (As Amended By ISAF)
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