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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Italians On Top at TP52 Super Series in Valencia - Day One

After three races off Valencia in brisk winds and an awkward chop Audi Azzurra Sailing Team lead the Audi Valencia Cup, the final event of the 2012 52 Super Series season.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
The team from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda won both of the first two races and were leading the third before disaster struck. A big gust and wind shift struck in the final metres of the day’s final race caused the kite of Audi Azurra Sailing Team to touch the committee boat’s antenna.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
They were forced to drop their gennaker and do a penalty turn that saw the team skippered by Guillermo Parada slip to a fifth place finish.

“It was the perfect day until the last 30 seconds,” said Azzurra’s navigator Bruno Zirilli.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Championship leaders Quantum Racing looked a bit off their game in the first race but the series leader finished fifth in the five boat fleet. They improved with a third and second but are in fourth overall, locked on 10 points with Rán and Gladiator.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
The day's first race was contested in a 12-14 knot nor' easterly breeze with Audi Azzurra's afterguard of Vasco Vascotto and Francesco Bruni getting the best start. They duelled to the right of the upwind, trading tacks with Quantum Racing, the duo lost out to the group which went left.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Audi All4One lead around the windward mark but on the final run smart tactics and good speed saw Audi Azzurra pip the Franco-German team on the finish line. The second win was more decisive for Audi Azzurra. They lead at the first mark and extended on the first run, going on to win by over 90 seconds from Audi All4One.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Jochen Schuemann’s team looked to be set for a consistent day but their jib cunningham blew up in the third race, costing them some minutes to repair it. But thanks to Audi Azzurra Sailing Team’s error on the finish line, they took fourth and so lie second overall on the Audi Valencia Cup standings by just one point.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
In the third race Audi Azzurra looked to be in command, leading down the final run. But all of the race had been sailed with a dark cloud over the centre of the leg, yielding two different breezes on the extreme sides of the course. Rán challenged from second at the final windward mark with consistently better use of the breeze.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
They were just far enough ahead to squeeze across the line to win as the big gust hit, heading them and destroying their spinnaker. Quantum Racing accelerated over Azzurra in the puff to take second, while the erstwhile race leader grazed the rolling committee boat’s antenna with their kite.
Photo:  Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
"Honestly we just need to sharpen up in every single department. We are just getting used to be being back on the boat. We all have not been on it for a while. It is a little bit of everything, we will have it straightened out for tomorrow, we will have it out of our system,” said Quantum Racing’s tactician Andy Horton.

Standings Audi Valencia Cup after three races

1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) 7 pts (1,1,5)
2 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (FRA/GER) 8pts (2,2,4)
3 Rán (SWE) 10pts (4,5,1)
4 Quantum Racing (USA) 10pts (5,3,2)
5 Gladiator 10pts (3,4,3)

TP52 Series Media

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