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Friday, September 21, 2012

Italians Close In On Audi Valencia Cup - 52 Super Series - Day Three

After seven years since joining the TP52 class as the Matador, the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team are poised to reach the perfect conclusion as Alberto Roemmers’ crew set themselves up to lift the inaugural 52 Super Series trophy tomorrow in Valencia.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
The team which sails under the pennant of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda won both races in gentler breezes and big swells on the America’s Cup racing waters off Valencia’s Malvrossa Beach today.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
With their nearest title rivals, Quantum Racing, the world champions and winners of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit, scoring a pair of third places, Audi Azzurra only an outside mathematical possibility that they can be beaten, needing only to start and finish tomorrow’s final race of the 2012 season.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
The champions elect crew, skippered by Guillermo Parada which is a mix of Argentinian, Italian, Australian, Spanish and English sailors, have been close to a season long title before. In 2011 they were in contention before their mainsail fell down while leading the coastal race in Cartagena at the penultimate regatta of the season.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
But this year they have sailed immaculately and won five races from seven starts, usually getting the better of the pre-start match race duels with Quantum Racing.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“We are prepared to do our best, we want to have no excuses," Skipper Parada said about their approach to this regatta. “This has been our goal, we have been chasing it for a long time. At some stages we started to question whether we could make it happen. But we know in the depth of our hearts that we had what it takes.”
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Ed Reynolds, long time project manager and director of Quantum Racing, was quick to congratulate the team, recognising that they had sailed exceptionally.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“Over the years what made winning this whole thing so sweet is to beat a team of their calibre and I think that had to have been a bitter pill for them over the years to watch us. It has never been easy, never been anything we’ve run away with, we have been fortunate we have sailed well and these guys deserve everything, they did a great job. But we will be back,” Reynolds said.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Audi Azzurra won the first starting duel after another spirited battle which saw both protagonists using the media and VIP spectator boats to separate from each other. The blue hulled boat was impaired slightly by Jochen Schuemann’s Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE in the first minutes as they drag raced upwind.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
They tacked to clear their wind and in so doing then took the chance to tack in the face of Quantum Racing. The afterguard of the American boat displayed a protest flag that the jury immediately dismissed and from there was no chance of Ed Baird’s crew making any impact on Azzurra.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
In the second start of the day Quantum Racing made the start they wanted in their best of the regatta so far. They were third at the first windward mark, trailing leaders Azzurra and Gladiator in the modest 6-8 knot breeze with a big swell.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team also lead the Audi Valencia Cup regatta by four points, ahead of Audi ALL4ONE, with the 52 Super Series champions elect also on course to also win their first regatta of the season.

Audi Valencia Cup
Standings Audi Valencia Cup after 7 races

1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) 13 pts (1,1,5,1,3,1,1)
2 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (FRA/GER) 17pts (2,2,4,3,2,2,2)
3 Quantum Racing (USA) 23pts (5,3,2,2,5,3,3)
4 Rán (SWE) 24pts (4,5,1,5,1,4,4)
5 Gladiator (GBR) 28pts (3,4,3,4,4,5,5)

Quotes:

Guillermo Parada ARG skipper, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team ITA
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“We know in order to win here you have to have a perfect week so we started preparing this well in advance, we wanted to make sue we were a step better in every single department that we could. We worked on the sails, boat preparation, some work on the tune up of the rig, crew manoeuvres, the starts, work on the video’s analysing, so when we came here we were prepared to do our best, we wanted to have no excuses.”

“It’s been our goal, we have been following for a long time and for sure it’s a relief, at some stage we started to question whether we could make it happen. But we know in the depth of our hearts that we had what it takes.”

Ed Reynolds, USA, Quantum Racing USA:
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“They just went and won the series this year, I don’t think we sailed that poorly, we didn’t seem to get anything going when we needed to get it going but they didn’t give us an opportunity to.”

“Maybe our philosophy early in the thing was its just us and them and it didn’t play well into our strategy, we focus on the fleet and to what we do and early on the breeze played out of our strength but today we had no excuses, we just got out sailed.”

“Over the years what made winning this whole thing so sweet is to beat a team of that

calibre and I think it had to have been a bitter pill for them over the years to watch us, but it has never been easy, never been anything we’ve run away with, we have been fortunate we have sailed well and these guys deserve everything, they did a great job. But we will be back.”

Vasco Vascotto, ITA, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team ITA:
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“My first thought is for Quantum, they had a fantastic season but at the end we beat them and I feel sorry for that, I know how they feel.”

“These guys were racing as Matador and Azzurra, its been seven years of trying hard. I joined these guys three years ago and we were very very close and I know how hard they try and I think its excellent motivation.”

“I think we sailed better this week than at any time in our lives. I’m very proud to sail with these guys, they are good friends first of all so I’m happy to get this result with them.”

Francesco Bruni, ITA, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, ITA:
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“I feel super happy because it’s something we fought for from the beginning for many years and coming into this regatta it was not easy. I had a lot going on in Auckland, with Luna Rossa and with my family and to squeeze in this week in was a big commitment, but I am so happy that I have done it and so happy that this team fought so hard to win this championship.”

“It was a fight before the warning signal to put pressure on them. (Quantum). We are very satisfied out of seven races we won five, so its a great team result. My match racing skills have come to some help this week and that’s why i was called to steer the boat at the start.”

52 Super Series Media

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