Match Race Germany is the second stage of the ISAF World Match Racing Tour 2011.
Robertson v Berntsson on Qualifying Day 1 - Match Race Germany 2011
Damien Iehl continue his imperious form today and was joined by Francesco Bruni and Phil Robertson at the top of the standings after each team posted unbeaten records in the first Qualifying Session on Lake Constance.
After a deserved victory at Match Race France where he only lost five from 21 races, it looked like business as usual in Langenargen for Damien Iehl (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team. The Frenchman didn't have it all his own way though having to come from behind in his opening match against Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing. He then benefited from a mistake by Eugeny Neugodnikov (RUS) Team Synergy to claim his next scalp.
Against the Russian, Iehl was losing on the beat to M2 which had been changed due to a wind shift. Neugodnikov and Iehl rounded different windward marks - Neugodnikov the original red mark and Iehl the white alternative mark. Thinking Iehl was at fault, Neugodnikov displayed his red flag to protest but it was clear the confusion lay with the Russian who finished second and had no joy with his protest.
A 2-0 scoreline and Iehl was now firmly in his stride, next defeating William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Saling Team in quick succession. A comfortable win against Jesper Radich (DEN), Adrian Lee and Partners in Flight 8 wrapped up a perfect day for Iehl – it's a performance that mirrors his opening day in France and will send yet another warning shot to his opponents.
It was a welcome return to form for Phil Robertson and his WAKA Racing team after struggling at the season opener in France.
The postponement flag and course changes punctuated the Qualifying Session as the wind across Lake Constance continuously shifted and dipped, rising only to a light peak of six or seven knots. However, Robertson seemed to judge the tricky conditions perfectly in all three of his opening races, catching the best of the patchy wind to lead Stefan Meister, Johnie Berntsson and Eric Monnin from start to finish.
Speaking about the start to his Match Race Germany campaign, Robertson said: 'Losing a couple of early races in France cost us a top eight finish there. It reminded us that the early races are as important as the later races and every result can come back to bite you. We've taken that on board which seems to have made us hungrier here.'
Reading the shifts was clearly a key factor to winning on Lake Constance in the first Qualifying Session, but if anything the conditions meant clean maneuvers and working the Bavaria 40S boats hard was equally important. This was reflected by Bruni's team who appeared well drilled in their victories against Mathieu Richard, Eric Monnin (SUI) Team Ocalys Corum and German qualifier Stefan Meister. Commenting after their great start to Match Race Germany, Bruni's pitman Pietro Mantovani, said:
'Our strategist did well to read the shifts in the short and long term but I also think maneuvers were vital. It's really easy to lose speed on these boats so you have to move carefully and continually trim the sails well. It was nice work from the crew.'
Iehl, Bruni and Robertson will be happy with their start here at Match Race Germany however the script for Qualifying is far from complete with six teams having only raced three flights in the first Qualifying Session. For the next chapter, look no further than Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team who is up next in the first two races of the second Qualifying Session when he will be keen to stamp his mark on this regatta and his 2011 Tour campaign.
The second Qualifying Session kicks off with an interviews with Johnie Berntsson and Yanmar's Kazuhiko Sofuku on the 'WMRT Morning Show' from 09.30 CET* on the WMRT website on Thursday followed by live coverage of all the action between 13.00 and 15.00 CET* The 'WMRT Today Show' will review all the day's events from Lake Constance from 19.30 CET*.
A live blog will run on the WMRT website throughout the day to give flight by flight updates. Also follow the action on the WMRT Facebook page and Twitter page. *Times dependant on racing conditions.
Standings After the First Qualifying Session:
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 5-0
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino 3-0
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 3-0
Eugeney Neugodnikov (RUS) – Team Synergy 3-2
Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee and Partners 3-2
Mathieu Richard (FRA) – French Match Racing Team 2-1
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 2-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 2-3
Eric Monnin (SUI) – Team Ocalys Corum 1-2
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) – Berntsson Sailing Team 0-4
Stefan Meister (GER) 0-4
William Tiller (NZL) – Full Metal Jacket Racing 0-5
2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings (After Stage One)
1 Damien Iehl - 25 pts
2 Bertrand Pace – 22pts
3 Torvar Mirsky – 19pts
4 Jesper Radich – 16pts
5 Pierre Antoine Morvan – 14pts
6 Francesco Bruni – 12pts
7 Peter Gilmour – 10pts
8 Alvaro Marinho – 8pts
9 Phil Robertson – 4pts
10 Ian Williams – 2pts
Match Race Germany website