World #1 Mathieu RICHARD won the sixth edition of the ISAF Grade 1 Marseille International Match Race, defeating Paolo CIAN in Saturday's final.
Over four days of racing in Marseille, the wind set the tone and the pace: two days in extreme conditions with wind speeds of more than 30 knots and heavy seas; a morning of nothing at all; and at last optimal conditions for match racing - the 2008 edition MIMR was once again extraordinary!
On Friday the three pre-event favourites and top-ranked skippers in the competition, Mathieu RICHARD
(FRA), Paolo CIAN
(ITA) and Sébastien COL
(FRA), had all progressed through to the semi-final stage, along with world #16 Mads EBLER
(DEN). RICHARD lined up against the Dane in the first semi-final, whilst CIAN took on COL. Both match ups were tightly contested and both went to a third and deciding match. RICHARD, the #1 skipper in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings
and CIAN, ranked #3 in the world, progressed through to the final, which went the way of the Frenchman by a score of 3-1.
A delighted RICHARD said, "It's fantastic! This Grade 1 MIMR has been really positive for our team. After a long winter break, our objective was to get back up to speed, find our marks, our reflexes on board. We sailed really well and won lots of matches. We are all the happier with our performance that the line-up was of a really high level, with some very motivated teams. We have taken part in every single edition of the MIMR since the beginning - it's really promising for the rest of the season."
Team Shosholoza skipper CIAN commented, "Mathieu RICHARD was better in the pre-starts, we were faster in the upwind beat but Mathieu's team handled the kite more confidently and was faster.
"The MIMR is our first big event for Shosholoza in 2008 and finishing second, in these conditions in a final with the world #1 is really great.
"This is our second time in the MIMR, and we are second again - things will be different next time!"
concluded the Italian.
Results - click here
Marseille International Match Race - www.mimr.fr