Gilles Martin-Raget /

Iehl and Marinho tied

After the opening day of Match Race France

Wednesday May 11th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Local sailor Damien Iehl and the Portugese wildcard Alvaro Marinho put in sublime performances on the opening day of the 2011 World Match Racing Tour at Match Race France to top the scoreboard and close in on a place in the Quarter-Finals.

Throughout the pre-season, Damien Iehl expressed his determination to prove himself amongst the world’s elite match racers and he more than backed that up in the first Qualifying Session. In his first match against Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar, Iehl won what proved to be every team’s favoured side (the left). He was in complete control as the boats headed down the first run building an unassailable 8 length lead.

Among both Iehl and Marinho’s victims was fellow Frenchman Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Extreme Team Morbihan, a man who grabbed the headlines in the morning with victories against three Tour Card Holders tipped as title contenders - Williams, Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino and Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners Racing Team. A defeat for Iehl against Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing and against Bruni for Marinho were to be the only blemishes on their 5-1 scorelines.

Commenting on his performance, Iehl said: “It was a perfect day today – we’re just one point away from the Quarter-Finals. We hope to race the same way tomorrow but we'll take it one race after the other. We worked a lot this winter and we're happy to be Tour Card Holders which brushes off some of the pressure. It’s good to strategise… but the story says that when you're strong at the beginning you don't pass the Quarter-Finals so we need to be careful. ”

An elated Alvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team, added: “I can say this is our best day on the World Match Racing Tour. We need to keep [this up]. We are one of the less experienced crew here but to have a couple of nice wins against those guys is rewarding.”

Standings After First Qualifying Session:
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 5-1
Alvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team 5-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino 4-2
Bertrand Pace (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team 4-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 3-3
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 3-4
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Extreme Team Morbihan 3-4
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat 2-2
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 2-3
Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners 2-4
Alexis Littoz-Baritel (FRA) Savoie Mont Blanc 1-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 0-6



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