Another immaculate Bribon day
The race for the 2011 Audi MedCup TP52 class title stepped ever higher in intensity in light breezes off Barcelona after a stunning recovery from the Spanish crew on Bribon saw them finish in second place in the only race of the day.
After finishing third in Cagliari, winning in Cartagena and now seizing the regatta today lead in Barcelona with their come-from-behind second place, their incredible momentum might almost even suggest a date with destiny come Saturday’s gala prizegiving as the perfect full stop to the 40 year history of the famous team.
Long time TP52 leaders Quantum Racing slid to a second successive seventh place in the eight boat fleet which is competing for the Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy.
Germany’s Container scored their first race win since July to keep the Markus Wieser skippered crew in the title challenge.
Less than 13 points separate Quantum Racing from fourth placed Audi Azzurra (ITA) with up to four races of the season left. Quantum Racing, which won the overall title in 2008, lead Spain's Bribon by just seven points.
While Container started best today and were able to use the added wind pressure to the left side of the course, it was Tony Langley’s Gladiator (GBR) which led around the windward mark. Container took the lead on the first run as they read the fluky wind pressure better and Gladiator chose to gybe set to the left of the run.
Bribon had come off the start line second best after the challenge for the pin end of the line and found themselves with a struggle on their hands. But their excellent boat speed in the light, 6-8 knot breeze, was the key to their climb through the fleet from sixth at the first turn, going on to chase Container across the finish.
Of concern to the Quantum Racing crew will, again, be the way in which they slipped from an early third after a strong opening beat, to cross seventh.
The rise of the TP52 fleet’s oldest design, Bribon, over the second half of this season has been pronounced. They stood sixth on the leaderboard after each of the first two events, fifth after Cagliari, fourth after their win in Cartagena and now they lie second on the season standings after having made up 31.5 points on Quantum Racing over the last 18 races.
Bribon’s trimmer and project manager Ignacio Triay (ESP) came ashore saying that with two days to go the season title race starts again here: "It feels like the season starts here, it starts today. Everything could happen in the next two days, everything! I tell you I would never have expected this. We were pretty convinced that the podium of the Audi MedCup would be a fight between Quantum, Audi Azzurra and Container and we were pretty convinced that the fight for fourth place would be between us, Rán and Synergy.
"In Cartagena we had the feeling that, hey, maybe we should go for more. Suddenly we found ourselves closing to the podium, so we said maybe we should try. Here has happened three things: today or tomorrow the conditions could change but so far the conditions for Bribon have been not bad. We did a more constant three days and our most direct opponents are doing worse than any other event before, so all together I was looking at the numbers and probably after two days in Cascais it was closer than it is now. It is not going to be for anyone with a weak heart. Quantum is still far ahead and we have Azzurra and Container very close to us.”
"But, if it is windy tomorrow, everything can change. It is possible to win the circuit for sure, but we came here to win Barcelona. That was our goal and we come here to do our job, to say goodbye to our Bribon history with a winner. From the beginning Rán has made it very difficult for us, but we came here with that goal, to win here. But we still have not really looked at the overalls, but it does not just depend on us it depends what others do.
"I don’t know about luck, but I certainly think that the motivation is on our side. I have been sailing on Bribon for 18 seasons and I don’t remember never before the crew being so close as a group of friends and so motivated as we are. I tell you, you need to have a nice crew: very smooth, very motivated to keep pushing, keep pushing as one. It is not easy. But I don’t know if the luck is with us or not, but the attitude, the momentum is with us. We feel so supported here by the city, by our friends here. But of course tomorrow could be a disaster. Today we saved the day and we keep going.”
The TP52s are scheduled to sail four more windward-leeward races, effectively losing their coastal race since only one race could be completed today.
In the Soto 40 class it was Iberostar which scored their first win as a team in this fleet, holding off Tony Buckingham’s Cartagena winners on Ngoni. The British crew held their nerve and concentration in the final stages of the last run to secure second only just ahead of Iberdrola Team.
Results - Conde de Godó - City of Barcelona Trophy
TP52s after five races
1. Bribón (ESP), 1+3+3+1+2=10 points
2. RAN (SUE), 2+1+1+2+5=11 points
3. Container (GER), 4+7+5+4+1=21 points
4. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+2+7+7=21 points
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 8+4+8+3+4=27 points
6. Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (GER/FR), 6+8+6+5+3=28 points
7. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+5+4+8+8=30 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 7+6+7+6+6=32 points
Soto-40 after three races
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+3=5 points
2. Iberostar (ESP), 2+4+1=7 points
3. Ngoni (GBR), 5+3+2=10 points
4. Cruiser-racer.com (ESP), 4+2+4=10 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 3+5+6=12 points
6. Visitmalta (ESP), 6+6+5=17 points
7. XXII (EUR), DNC+DNC+DNC=24 points