The Audi MedCup Circuit has concluded with the closest finish since the conclusion of the 2007 season. Quantum Racing secured the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit 52 Series title on the year’s penultimate race.
Having ended the challenge from Spanish icons Bribon the previous day, and so relieving themselves of a pressure build that had haunted them since their middle of the season fifth place finish in Sardinia, the Quantum Racing Team which is skippered by America’s Cup winner Ed Baird (USA) clinched the title with a showcase race victory.
Although Quantum Racing had lead since the fifth day of this five month, five regattas 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit season, the 2008 title winners arrived for the showdown Conde de Godo-City of Barcelona Trophy with a Circuit shrunk to only 3.5 points. After a thrilling final two days of an incredible season Quantum Racing won their second Audi MedCup title by an overall margin of 15 points, ahead of Jose Cusi’s Bribon, Italy’s Audi Azzurra Sailing team take third.
The dream finish for the Bribon campaigns which have spanned 38 years were ultimately denied by Quantum Racing and also by RAN. The Swedish flagged boat owned and steered by Niklas Zennstrom, won the Conde de Godo Barcelona Trophy, despatching Bribon to second step on the regatta podium.
But there was an emotional farewell from the Audi MedCup Circuit sailors for the Bribon team delivered only metres from Cusi’s home club, the Real Club Nautico de Barcelona.
Owner Cusi said, 'We've given Spain many wins during this 38 years, and that's a reason to be happy. The boat retires but I don't, I'll keep racing on more simple boats. As we crossed the finish line I got a phone call from the king to congratulate us for our second place in a Circuit of such high level and in Barcelona.'
Quantum Racing started with victory in the opening regatta of the season in Cascais, finished second in Marseille, fifth in Cagliari and third in Cartagena. Quantum Racing’s project manager Ed Reynolds, also co-architect of their 2008 title win, smiled on the dockside today:
'Of all the MedCups this is the one I am most thrilled about. When they had to step up, they did. We feel like we have been defending the whole season, like we had a target on our backs since we won in Cascais at the beginning of the season. We were defending before we were ready to. I just hate to lose, and so I have such a sense of relief but it is so great to be part of a team like this. In competitive sport when everything is on the line to be a part of something which stands up and takes control that was the best part of the whole year.'
The inaugural Audi MedCup Circuit 40 Series title was Iberdrola Team’s with a day to spare, but the Spanish team which is skippered by Jose Maria Torcida, also won their fourth Trophy of the season with another pair of race wins today.
If the Valencia based title winners proved a class apart in the early season, there has been clear indications not only of a very rosy future for this exciting 40 foot high performance one design with a big number of potential owners sailing on board as guests in Barcelona, but also that the level of competition has evened. Inaki Castaner’s Noticias IV took second place on the 40 Series Circuit with Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni finishing their season third overall after winning in Cartagena last month. 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit 52 Series - Final standings after five regattas:
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 19 + 30 + 42+38,5+33= 162,5 points
2. Bribón (ESP), 47,5 + 38+37+25+30= 177,5 points
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 32,5 + 37+35,5+28+47= 180 points
4. Container (GER), 31,5+28,5+38+43+44= 185 points
5. Ràn (SUE), 40,5+41,5+43,5+48,5+28= 202 points
6. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR) 58 + 43,5+26,5+39,5+37 =204,5 points
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 37+39,5+44,5+43,5+44= 208,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 85,5+47+85,5+85,5+61= 364,5 points
Owner Driver Trophy: Niklas Zennström (SWE), RÁN (SWE) 40 Series: Final standings after five regattas:
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 13+14+9+17+15= 68 points
2. Noticia IV (ESP) 25 + 22+15+19+23= 104 points
3. Ngoni (GBR) 33+26+22+13+25= 119 points
4. Patagonia (ARG) 28 +17+42+32+43= 162 points
5. XXII (ESP) 23+26+24+39+64= 176 points
6. Cruiser-racer (ESP) 48+42+42+48+28= 208 points
7. Bigamist (POR) 48+42+42+48+34=214 points Conde de Godó City of Barcelona Trophy: 52 Series
Results after nine races
1. RAN (SWE), 2+1+1+2+5+8+1+4+4=28 points
2. Bribón (ESP), 1+3+3+1+2+4+6+3+7=30 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+2+7+7+1+2+1+8=33 points
4. Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (GER/FR), 6+8+6+5+3+2+3+2+2=37 points
5. Container (GER), 4+7+5+4+1+6+7+5+5=44 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 8+4+8+3+4+3+4+7+3=44 points
7. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+5+4+8+8+5+5+1+6=47 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 7+6+7+6+6+7+8+8+6=61 points 40 Series: Results after nine races:
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+3+2+1+5+1+1=15 points
2. Iberostar (ESP), 2+4+1+1+3+4+4+4=23 points
3. Ngoni (GBR), 5+3+2+3+4+1+5+2=25 points
(ESP), 4+2+4+5+6+2+2+3=28 points 5. Bigamist (POR), 3+5+6+4+2+3+6+5=34 points
(ESP), 6+6+5+6+5+6+3+6=43 points
7. XXII (EUR), 8 (DNC) +8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)=64 points
Owner Driver Trophy: Tony Buckingham (GBR), Ngoni (GBR)
Adrian Stead (GBR), tactician, Quantum Racing (USA):
'It is awesome. It has been good, we have really stepped up at this regatta. To come here and finish it off has been great. It is one of the most hard fought titles there is, it is a long season and here you are sailing against some of the best sailors in the world. The boats are constantly changing. Everyone is always trying to get better and better and you are always thinking about how you outsmart everyone. It is a long season. You have to be on your game at every regatta.
It is absolutely brilliant now, though. We had some really tough times. In Palma pre season we broke the mast step of the boat we had to retire from that Palma Vela pre season regatta, regroup and rebuild the mast step. When everyone came to Cagliari they were pretty strong. I missed a couple of things there tactically and then we broke the backstay. But you just have to keep chipping away. I am sure that every boat here can now look back at their Audi MedCup season and see where they could have saved 10, 15 or 20 points. I look at Bribon in Cascais: they blew up their A4 kite, they were OCS by the skin of their teeth in one race going, and they had a red flag. The points situation has been interesting because Audi Azzurra, Container and us have been kind of see-sawing and Bribon were able to play through. They were always the boat we were happy to put between us and Container or Audi Azzurra and we get here and they were breathing down our necks.'
Ed Reynolds, (USA) project manager, Quantum Racing (USA):
'Of all the MedCups this is the one I am most thrilled about. When they had to step up, they did. We feel like we have been defending the whole season, like we had a target on our backs since we won in Cascais at the beginning of the season. We were defending before we were ready to. I just hate to lose, and so I have such a sense of relief but it is so great to be part of a team like this. In competitive sport when everything is on the line to be a part of something which stands up and takes control that is the best part of the whole year.'
José Cusí (ESP), owner-skipper, Bribón (ESP):
'Quantum won the first race and was last in the second. Coming back in to port it was fantastic, I'm really thankful that everybody congratulated us and supported us constantly. This is Bribón's last race, I'm moved but very happy at the same time, we've given Spain many wins during this 38 years, and that's a reason to be happy. The boat retires but I don't, I'll keep racing on more simple boats. As we crossed the finish line I got a phone call from the king to congratulate us for our second place in a Circuit of such high level and in Barcelona. I'm very happy because the crew has offered me the boat's flag, the one we carry on the stern and all in our hearts, and they're going to sign it. We've proudly sailed with it all over the world'.
Ignacio Triay (ESP), trimmer, Bribón (ESP):
'It´s really hard to explain. After 18 years, I remember when I began here in February 1994, just over there. It´s hard to say with words how I feel today being the last day. I think that it will take me a while to realize what we´ve done this season and this year, which has been incredible. The support by the media and our rivals has been really emotional for us. I want to congratulate those who won because Quantum deserve to win the championship and RÁN has done a great event here in Barcelona. We were sixth after the second event of the circuit and we´ve end up second. It´s gift for our owner and for His Majesty'.
José María Torcida (ESP), skipper-helm, Iberdrola Team (ESP):
'It´s the end of the season, we saw that all the preparation work that we did paid off, especially with the sails, it was key for this final win. We were really focused from day one, we started doing a good job and managed to save our lead. We knew this was important because the rest of the teams would improve as the season progressed. Things have been a lot tighter in the fleet at the end. We are happy with our success and the teamwork that we´ve done, it set the basis for what came after. Great crew work, everyone has done their own job having a good time. The future is bright for this boat, it´s easy to sail and trim, and it´s very well built. It makes the competition interesting, we´ve seen this here. At the end the competition has been a lot harder. I think that a 10-12 boat fleet will be espectacular. Once we won the Circuit yesterday we wanted to win here, because we had not won in a Spanish venue yet. It was the perfect way to say goodbye and it became our goal. We kept an eye on both Iberostar and Ngoni, and things worked out the way wanted.'
Juan Luis Páez (ESP), Navigator, Ibedrola Sailing Team (ESP):
'We are really happy about winning the Audi MedCup Circuit, because it was not easy. At the end, all the team work and our preparation since Christmas have paid off. We´ve worked a lot. In terms of logistics, having the best sails, and in terms of the team, creating a great crew, we´ve done great, these issues have been key in order for us to win this. This should help us for the future, this is a team that deserves continuity. We all know that it´s all about the sponsors and I think that Iberdrola is probably happy, because we´ve been very professional. The fleet has grown with the months, improving a lot. It has a lot of future. Things have changed a lot since Cascais. 2012 will be tough, I´m sure. Now the goal is to win this trophy because we are only two points ahead of the second team. It´s quite important for us to win here, we´ll fight hard for it.'
Niklas Zennstrom (SWE), Skipper, RÁN (SWE):
'It´s been a good day, with really stressful racing. Quantum had a top start in the first race, leaving us behind, and Bribón managed to take a point from us. The second race was tough, Bribón also got in front of us at one point, but overall we went back to sailing the way we´ve done all week, relaxed and having a good time. We are really pleased to win the last Audi Med Cup event because it has shown us and everyone that we have been getting better through the season. I also want to congratulate Quantum Racing because they did a very good job'.
Audi MedCup website