French still lead at Tornado Worlds

Darren Bundock and Glen Ashby (AUS) cross the finish line to win Race 6 of the 2008 Tornado Worlds, Takapuna NZ

Yann Guichard and Alexandre Gaebler of France still hold the lead at the 2008 Tornado World Championship now past the mid way point in Takapuna, North Shore City, New Zealand.

While the forecast wasn’t promising Takapuna turned it on today with fabulous sailing conditions and warm, sunny skies. Racing started on time and sailors enjoyed a north easterly breeze which built through the afternoon to around 12 knots for the second race of the day making for exciting sailing.

The snakes and ladders on the leader board continued today with constant shuffling in the overall standings. Now past the midway point in this ten race series, the one discard for the series has come into play which saw some competitors make big gains on the board.

Guichard and Gaebler were 13th in the first race of the day allowing the Canadian’s to steal the overall lead momentarily , however the French were quick to fight back coming 4th in race 6, they then discarded their worst result and took back the lead.

Defending world champions Bundock and Ashby were the big movers of the day shifting up to 2nd just six points adrift of the leaders putting themselves right back in the game for the title. They were 8th in race 5 and then followed that up with a win in race 6 to rocket six places up the leaderboard aided by the first discard coming into play.

It was a mixed day for Canadian’s Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle who took the overall lead after a 4th in race 5. But in race 6 they were 19th across the line and now sit in 3rd place overall at the end of the day. Still looking to qualify their country for an Olympic spot they are well out in front in this race which sees ten nations who are yet to qualify fighting it out for four remaining places.

German’s Roland Gaebler and Gunnar Struckman had a disappointing day losing their overnight position of 2nd falling back to 5th with a 30th and an 18th in racing today.

Lying second in the race for Olympic qualification is the kiwi pair of Aaron McIntosh and Mark Kennedy. The New Zealander’s were pleased with their performance on the water today and happy with their overall consistency.

“That was a good one for us,” said Aaron McIntosh. “The big thing is that we’ve been super consistent all the way through.”

When asked about their tactics for racing McIntosh replied, “Keep it simple, do the simple things well. We’ve had two days of offshore and today we had the sea breeze which was pretty light, and a little bit sticky. But we had good starts and managed to get to the right side of the course early.”

McIntosh is pleased and perhaps a touch surprised at his overall standing. When asked how he was feeling now six races in he said “Really great, a little surprised, but we know we’ve got in ourselves.”

Austrian’s Hagara and Steinacher who are reigning Olympic champions improved their overall standing today from 14th up to 9th which also puts them in a good position to earn Olympic qualification.

Racing resumes tomorrow with a planned start time of 1 o’clock with two races scheduled; racing concludes on Saturday.

2008 Tornado World Championship
Top Ten standings after six races (Provisional)

1st FRA Yann Guichard & Alexandre Guyader 21 points (4, 9, 1, 3, (13), 4)
2nd AUS Darren Bundock & Glen Ashby 27 points (14, (23), 2, 2, 8, 1)
3rd CAN Oskar Johansson & Kevin Stittle 28 points ((21), 1, 3, 1, 4, 19)
4th ITA Francesco Marcolini & Edoardi Bianchi 34 points (11, 7, 10, 5, 1, (52 OCS))
5th GER Roland Gaebler Gunnar & Struckman 37 points (3, 3, 4, 9, (30), 18)
6th FRA Billy Besson & Arnaud Jarlegan 41 points (19, (20), 7, 4, 5, 6)
7th NZL Aaron McIntosh & Mark Kennedy 43 points ((17), 8, 5, 7, 10, 13)
8th NED Mitch Booth & Pim Nieuwenhuis 45 points (7, 2, 6, 8, (26), 22)
9th AUT Roman Hagara & Hans Peter Steinacher 48 points (10, (25), 12, 15, 2, 9)
10th USA John Lovell & Charlie Ogletree 55 points (2, 5, 29, (52 DNF), 3, 16)