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19 January 2010, 11:32 pm
Percy And Simpson Win Race Four To Close In On Star World Championship Title
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson celebrate their win in race four
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson celebrate their win in race four which puts them into a 19-point overall lead

Star World Championship 2010
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Beijing Olympic gold medallists Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson of Great Britain won race four of the Star Worlds to extend their overall lead to 19 points with just two races to go in Rio.
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) continued to dominate the 2010 Star World Championship. With today's first place finish in race four of the six-race series, the 2008 Olympic gold medallists stretched their lead to 19 points over 1989 Star World Champion, Alan Adler and Guilherme Almeida (BRA). The 2008 North American Champions Rick Merriman and Phil Trinter (USA) had a solid command of second place throughout the race. Andre Mirsky and Marcelo Jordao (BRA) bettered their sixth place finish in race two by finishing third today. Percy and Simpson came off the water today in great spirits and reported. "We had lovely conditions. It was the first real day of sailing with 6-8 knots in the beginning and 12-14 for the last part of the race." Careful not to jinx their run away lead and knowing that another stellar performance in race five could give them a Gold Star to pair with their Olympic gold, Percy said, "It's about avoiding disasters in an 80-boat fleet."

"As much as I would like to be sure of the title, we still have two races to go," added a straight-faced Percy, donning a pair of Brazilian flip-flops. "We don't have to fight to win anymore. We just need to remain among the first 10 to achieve our goal."

The closest team to Percy and Simpsopn, the Brazilians Adler and Alemeida, finished 13th in today's race, their worst result of the regatta to date. Reflecting on the day's results, Adler regretted his boat's lack of speed. "On a few occasions we got quite close to the British team, but we weren't able to keep up, especially on the starboard tacks."

Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR) continue to hang tough and are now in third place overall. Two points behind are Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria (SUI). Race five is scheduled for tomorrow. Following the completion of five races, teams can discard their worst race score. Johannes Babendererde and Timo Jacobs (GER) recovered from yesterday's 39 and lowered their average with their eight place finish today.

The breeze outside of Guanabara Bay and miles off of Copacabana circulated a bit more today than it did during race three and according to 1993 Star World Champion crew, Trinter, "It's nice that the Race Committee favoured the boat. It made it fair across the line." Merriman and Trinter started on the upper end of the line, yet according to Trinter, "Within 10 minutes, we were in different current and they (Percy and Simpson) shot up next to us."

Percy and Simpson continued their outstanding performance and were clear leaders around the first windward mark and extended as the wind picked up, the conditions grew more to their liking and those immediately behind them focused on gaining an advantage over one another rather than the low odds possibility of catching the Brits.

The British pair were in good company around the first weather mark with Merriman, 2008 North American Champion, and 1993 World Champion crew, Trinter, Brazilians Mirsky and Jordao, Dan Lovrovic and Sinisa Mikulicic (CRO), Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks (IRL), Alejo Rigoni and Juan Pablo Percossi (ARG), Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA), Alan Adler and Guilherme Almeida (BRA), Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira (BRA) and Alessandro Pascolato and Henry Boening (BRA). Merriman and Trinter and Mirsky and Jordao had enough of a jump to round the rest of the marks in second and third place.

To prepare for this event, Mirsky and Jordao sailed major international regattas such as the 2009 Star World Championship, the North Americans and the November regattas in Rio. Said Mirsky after the race, "I am very happy. It is the third time that we were in the top five at the first mark. The first and second time we were there we lost some positions. We had a little more speed upwind today. We were not happy with the way we had the boat tuned yesterday and made changes."

The Brazilians fared very well today with Mirsky and Jordao finishing third, Scheidt and Prada fifth, Grael and Ferreira seventh, and Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert (BRA) rounding out the top ten.

There are many teams who have one finish in their scoreline that they would like to discard and tomorrow's race is likely to reshuffle the deck. Among those teams that had a top-10 race today and have a history of coming out on top by the end of a regatta are: Marazzi and De Maria, who finished fourth today; 2007 World Champions and silver medallists at the Qingdao Olympics, Scheidt and Prada; Italian Olympian Diego Negri and Ferdinando Colaninno, who finished sixth; Grael and Ferreira, with a team record of one win, five seconds and two third-place finishes in Star World Championships; and Grael and Seifert, who were third at the 2009 Star World Championship.

Results - click here

Star World Championship Page

Get all the news, photos and more on the 2010 Star World Championship on our dedicated regatta page via the link below.

Click here for our 2010 Star Worlds page.

The Star World Championship 2010 is sponsored by Banco do Brasil, Transpetro, Governo Federal, Gol Linhas Aéreas, Santa Constanza, Wollner and Secretaria Estadual de Turismo, Esporte e Lazer do Rio de Janeiro. The event is organized by Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro, International Star Class Yacht Racing Association (ISCYRA), Confederação Brasileira de Vela e Motor (CBVM) and Federação de Vela do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FEVERJ).

Lynn Fitzpatrick/ZDL (As Amended By ISAF)
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