52 Super Series – Azzurra takes charge in Valencia Cup

Azzurra - 52 Super Series, 2012 Audi Valencia Cup
Xaume Olleros / 52 Super Series
At the Audi Valencia Cup, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team - thanks to two superb races, held on to their leadership and grabbed the overall championship leadership from the American boat Quantum. The Valencia Cup is the closing event of the 2012 52 Super Series.

A first and a third. It had to be a day to forget the dramatic finish in yesterday's third race and it did: thanks to flawless sailing, Azzurra now clings to top spot in championship standings, tied on equal points with just three races left until the conclusion of the season.

In the day's first race, after thrashing Quantum in the prestart and forcing them to be early over the line, Azzurra crossed the finish line with a one-minute advantage over the American team. Quantum had a lucky comeback and finished second thanks to an error onboard Ràn, that twisted their spinnaker in the last run. The American boat had behind her, in that order, All4One, Gladiator and finally Ràn.

The second race of the day saw another match race between Azzurra and Quantum, with an aggressive prestart right in front of the Malvarosa beach, possibly even more spectacular than the 32nd America's Cup. The two championship leaders then battled it out at the back of the fleet, with Azzurra successful in keeping Quantum behind her stern. In the last run, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team executed a sailing masterpiece, managing to overtake Gladiator, squeezing them between their opponents. The race finished with a victory by Ràn, ahead of All4One and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. Gladiator is fourth and Quantum last.

'It isn't bad, it could have been worse' jokes a smiling Vasco Vascotto. 'The fight is becoming increasingly tougher, today we started match racing before we even turned off our engine, maybe tomorrow we start inside the harbor! We are demonstrating that we have no problems match racing against Ed Baird, but right now it is even more important that every sector works perfectly, from Guillermo's perfect steering to the maneuvers all the way to Checco's contribution and mine. I'm very satisfied with everybody's attitude during the season, we never gave up despite the fact luck had turned her back on us. Maybe now it turns a little bit towards us.'

Guillermo Parada, skipper: 'The entire crew worked perfectly, showing they are concentrated and they have the right mindset. We don't sail focusing on the points but on giving our best. We now have two days left and we must continue this way.'

Checco Bruni, tactician: 'We are truly giving our best, we just committed a small error yesterday, that cost us dearly, but in what regards the rest, everybody is carrying out their job astonishingly well and that's why we are sailing perfectly. Today, that small point gained by overtaking Gladiator gave us the opportunity to complete our recovery over Quantum but when racing against such a crew things are never easy.'

Azzurra leads the Audi Valencia Cup, followed by All4One, Ràn, Quantum and Gladiator. Two races are scheduled for tomorrow, starting at 1pm.

52 Super Series Audi Valencia Cup after five races:

1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) 11 pts (1,1,5,1,3)
2 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (FRA/GER) 13pts (2,2,4,3,2)
3 Rán (SWE) 16pts (4,5,1,5,1)
4 Quantum Racing (USA) 17pts (5,3,2,2,5)
5 Gladiator 18pts (3,4,3,4,4)

Azzurra website
http://www.sail-world.com/102197