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22 April 2008, 09:22 am
Mistral Lifts Favourites To The Top On Day Two In Hyères
The RS:X fleet get underway
It was another breezy day in Hyères

Semaine Olympique Française 2008
Hyères, France

The favourites bounced back on day two of the ISAF Grade 1 SOF with big breeze again making for some exhilarating racing in Hyères.
The second day of racing in the 40th ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères was blessed with ideal racing conditions and sunshine. The clouds and rain cleared quickly by mid-morning with the arrival of a steady 15-20 knots Mistral wind.

The class favourites claimed the top positions in most events with the big-breeze specialists again making the most of the day.

It was a faultless day for Nick THOMPSON (GBR) and Australians, Tom SLINGSBY and Sarah BLANCK in the Laser classes.

THOMPSON, the 2004 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion, added two more bullets to his impressive score to take the lead in the 156-boat Laser fleet. Despite three race victories, World Champion and world #1 SLINGSBY has to count an OCS from Monday's second race and is recorded in 29th position overall. He should come back to the top of the leaderboard when a race score can be excluded after Tuesday's racing.

BLANCK is the new leader in the Laser Radial. Coached by ex-Laser sailor and Sydney bronze medallist, Michael BLACKBURN (AUS), BLANCK has enjoyed the breezy conditions with a total of three victories after two bullets on Monday. She also gained average points on Monday's second race, converted into two points.

Another race winner was Polish sailor, Katarzyna SZOTYNSKA. "I met my objectives: I have started well in the middle of the line, and I had good speed downwind. I made good tactics upwind: at the right place at the right time! This was one of my few perfect races in my life!" she said.

SZOTYNSKA was not the only Polish competitors to have won a race in Hyères on Monday. Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) is the best ranked Polish sailor. She leads the Women's RS:X fleet with a 16-point advantage on Ling LI (CHN) after a first and third places in Tuesday's breezy conditions.

In the men's fleet, Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) scored a first and second to place fourth overall. The top three in the rankings collected similar results. At the top of the leaderboard the fight for selection for the Olympic Dutch team is intensifying with Casper BOUMAN (NED) leading the fleet and his direct opponent, Dorian VAN RIJSSELBERGE (NED) in second, only one point behind.

"We really like a windy day! In light winds we have to work real hard and winning depends more on technique, endurance and build. We have to work on that," explained BOUMAN.

According to BOUMAN, the 2006 World Champion, the selection battle does not affect the two friends and training partners. "We are both still in the race for the Olympics. With a top-three ranking anything is possible. But we don't thing about that. We're just having fun. When the wind is blowing like this week we are unstoppable!"

While the Polish team of Patryk PIASECKI and Kacper ZIEMINSKI realised the best scores with a first and a second in the Men's 470 fleet, the top placing goes to Team Skandia GBR Olympic representatives Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANFIELD. The Athens silver medallists have not forgotten how to perform in the breeze and hold a six-point overall lead. The French duo of Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX lead the women's fleet.

The 49er events saw another Polish victory with Marcin CZAJKOWSKI and Krzysztof KIERKOWSKI scoring a bullet in race 4 to move into fourth position overall. Athens silver medallist, Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR) mastered the day and flatter water with two bullets and a second to take the lead of the overall standings.

"We haven't fully started our preparation for light winds. We are planning some intense training in Ukraine where the conditions are usually lighter," explained the Ukrainian pair.

In the Tornado class, top-five results bring the 2007 World Champions Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP) into first place overall. Despite a slow start to the day, Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS (NED) won the last race to place second.

It was a day of tight results in the Finn class, where the top four are within three points. Chris COOK (CAN) lost the lead to Gasper VINCEC (SLO) after collecting 16 points in the first race. A victory in the last race could still see the Canadian come back to the top of the leaderboard after Tuesday's exclude.

Anna BASALKINA, Vladislava UKRAINCEVA and Ekaterina MAXIMOVA (RUS) made out some ground on their Russian rivals for Olympic selection after winning a race 4 in the Yngling fleet on Monday. Usually excelling in the light air, the Russians have gained more confidence in the fleet. Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA (RUS) lie in seventh overall, two places ahead of BASALKINA and her crew. Hyères is the last event in their Olympic selection trials. Northern European teams lead the fleet with Silja LEHTINEN, Maria KLEMETZ and Livia VARESMAA (FIN) in first place.

After two races sailed in the 2.4 Metre Paralympic fleet, Damien SEGUIN (FRA) is now on equal points with Thierry SCHMITTER (NED). Heiko KRÖGER (GER), disqualified at the start in race 1, will be a threat for the leaders after a second and a first place on the day.

The British trio of John ROBERTSON, Hannah STODEL and Stephen THOMAS (GBR) have three bullets from four races to lead the Sonar fleet.

The Mistral is expected to reinforce on Tuesday, so the breeze conditions look set to continue.
Results
Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Laser
Laser Radial
Men's 470
Women's 470
49er
Finn
Tornado
Yngling
2.4 Metre
Sonar

Semaine Olympique Fran?aise - http://sof.ffvoile.net/

Corinne Rolland-McKenzie
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