Stena Match Cup Sweden - Gilmour on the edge, Williams and Hansen safe

by WMRT 
Hansen V Swinton - Stena Match Cup 2011
Stena Match Cup Sweden 2011 has resulted thus far in Ian Williams and Bjorn Hansen booking their places in the Quarter Finals after finishing the third Qualifying Session at the top of the leaderboard.

The pair finished the day each with nine wins under their belts to secure progression through to the next stage of the Cup. But for Tour Card Holders Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing, Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team and Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing their fates hang in the balance tonight as they languish in the danger zone.

The three skippers, tonight ranked ninth, tenth and twelfth respectively, will have to fight for their survival in the final day of Qualifying tomorrow. In an added twist Bruni will face Gilmour in the final match of the final flight of Qualifying which could be make or break for either skipper.

Bruni, the current Tour leader, said: 'We’re not very happy with how we are sailing. Everyone can have a bad day and just had one of those. We made mistakes and we had some calls from the umpires go against us. Tomorrow is a must-win situation which every team faces at some point, but the good teams are the ones who can respond to that.'

After 19 flights four-time match racing World Champion Gilmour had scored only four wins but suffered seven losses on the waters of Marstrand Fjord.

Even if Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing wins his remaining matches his future in the Cup would still hang in the balance and his continuation to the Quarter Finals would be decided by a tie-break situation. With just 28 points separating Gilmour – currently second on the overall World Tour leaderboard – with tenth place an early exit from the competition could be seriously damaging to his campaign for a fifth world title.

Bjorn Hansen rallies his Mekonomen Sailing Team to make the Quarter Final cut - Stena Match Cup Sweden 2011
Even before racing started today the pressure was on for Gilmour, with five back-to-back losses from yesterday’s Qualifying Session. A win over Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing, one of yesterday’s form skippers, gave Gilmour’s team a much needed boost, followed up by a convincing win against Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing in the next flight thanks to some aggressive tactics.

But his fortunes turned in his race against Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar as the Portimao Portugal Match Cup winner came from behind on the second windward leg to snatch a narrow victory. Last year’s Stena Match Cup Sweden runner-up Jesper Radich then inflicted more misery onto Gilmour with a solid performance in the strengthening breeze.

Results after the second Qualifying Session Three:

Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 9-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 9-3
Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners 6-3
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat 6-4
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 6-5
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 6-6
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 6-6
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 5-5
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing 4-6
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 4-6
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team 4-7
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 4-7
Alvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team 4-8
Rasmus Viltoft (DEN) Team Viltoft 3-8

2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings (after Stage four):

1 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing – 81pts
2 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 58pts
3 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar - 46pts
4 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team - 45pts
5 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat – 45pts
6 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 43pts
7 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners – 40pts
8 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 35pts
9 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 31pts
10 Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team - 30pts

World Match Racing Tour website
http://www.sail-world.com/85685