Following a relaxed opening to the 2012 PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup yesterday, today was at the opposite end of the spectrum as the event exploded into life. The wind arrived right from the off, which allowed two men's and women’s eliminations to be completed in incredible slalom conditions over a grueling seven and a half hours on the water. The competitors made the most of the perfect, 15-25 knots of wind, as they treated the crowds to a relentless episode of adrenaline fueled slalom.
The opening winners’ final of the event saw Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic / Different) give an absolute master class as he led from start to finish to claim the first bullet of the day. The Dutchman came flying out of the blocks and he never looked like surrendering his lead as he combined his phenomenal top speed with super fluid gybes to keep the rest of the chasing pack at bay, which consisted of Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz), Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti) and Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde). However by the third mark Maynard had crashed out of contention, allowing Dunkerbeck and Albeau to pass as well as the hotly pursuing Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne / Mystic).
The top four remained unchanged until the finish line with Dunkerbeck being Van Der Steen’s closest challenger followed by the French contingent of Albeau and Moussilmani.
One of the major incidents of the race one involved Frederic Morin (Starboard / NeilPryde), who suffered a nasty gash to his forearm after a crazy pile up at the first mark of heat four. Unfortunately for Morin not only was that the end of his race but it was also the end of his competition, thankfully though the injury wasn’t as bad as first feared or as bad as it potentially could have been. Meanwhile there were a number of big name casualties in the opening round as Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic), Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7), Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Fanatic / North), Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) and Benoit Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer) all took early exits, which reiterates the point that there truly are no easy heats in the current slalom world.
The second winners’ final of the day started under dramatic circumstances as the current leader of the PWA Slalom World Tour, Bjorn Dunkerbeck, jumped the gun which resulted in terminator having to settle for eighth place and a restart for the remaining sailors. Once the race was underway again we saw an intriguing battle for the front as Albeau, Maynard and Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) made brilliant starts. As the leading three sailors headed for the first mark it was the Frenchman who held his nerve, under some serious pressure, to take command of the race, whilst Finian Maynard ran wide to lose his momentum.
Albeau continued to put the pedal to the metal and it wasn’t long before he was claiming his maiden victory of the week. The battle for the top three resulted in a MauiSails second and third as teammates Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) and Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) completed the top three, whilst Finian Maynard held off the challenge of Ross Williams to claim fourth.
The opening round of the second race saw the majority of the top seeds safely pass into the second round as parity was restored. Meanwhile the two Turkish, Berk Yalgin (Fanatic / North / Maui Ultra Fins) and Poyraz Akay sailed solid heats to qualify for the second round. However it wasn’t long until there was more drama on the horizon in the form of heat twelve. At the center of the controversy were Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft) and fellow teammate Ben Van Der Steen. As the two sailors bore down on the start line, Jossin ran straight across the nose of Van Der Steen’s board, which effectively ended the pairs eliminations, and left Van Der Steen’s board in urgent need of repair.
The third elimination was started but it was only possible to complete it to as far as the end of the second round before the wind began to deteriorate, which eventually brought an end to today’s proceedings. Many of the top seeds were able to successfully book their places in the semi-finals, which will take place tomorrow, but Maciek Rutkowski (Patrik / Loft), Ross Williams and Finian Maynard will all be missing after they were all a little to eager to cross the start line in heat eleven. With only five sailors remaining it was eventually Costa Hoevel, Van Der Steen, Kurosh Kiani (Fanatic / Simmer) and Cedric Bordes who managed to escape from the heat.
The current top two in the world, Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne) and Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic) went head to head in the winners’ final. The French woman made a great start to the heat to seize the early advantage, but her closest rival, Jaggi, never let her out of her sights and it didn’t take long for the Swiss gem to move into the number one spot. Despite Arrighetti’s best efforts she wasn’t able to reel in Jaggi as the Swiss lady took the first blood of the day. Arrighetti finished second whilst the top four was completed by Fulya Unlu (Starboard / Severne) and Deniz Sekercioglu as the Turkish women stamped their authority over the event.
In her first slalom event of the year the reigning world champion, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / Chris Benz), missed out on a spot in the winners’ final after the lady from Aruba false started in the semi-finals. Despite the disappointment of not making the final she managed to regain her focus to take the victory in the losers’ final ahead of the local girl Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft / AL306), Lise Vidal (Fanatic / North) and the other local girl Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Loft).
There was one serious name of note missing from race two’s winners’ final as Karin Jaggi failed to advance from her semi-final. With the door having been swung wide open Sarah-Quita Offringa looked as though she was going to announce her return to the competition scene with a win after she made a perfect start. However, things didn’t go quite to plan as Offringa made an uncharacteristic mistake by flaming her gybe at the first mark. Waiting in the wings was Cagla Kubat, who instantly seized the initiative by claiming a bullet on her home waters in front of Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde), Marion Mortefon (Starboard / Severne) and Sarah-Quita Offringa as Valerie Arrighetti had to settle for fifth place.
Just like the men’s third elimination, the wind deteriorated long before the completion of race three, as just one heat could be finished. The opening heat saw Marion Mortefon, Lise Vidal, Fulya Unlu (Starboard / North) and Greta Benvenuti (Patrik / Point-7 / AL360) navigate there way into the semi finals, as any early upsets were avoided on this occasion.
Tomorrow’s forecast is just as amazing as today’s so after an epic day of action in Alacati we are already excited for what Wednesday holds in store for us. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 09:30am tomorrow morning with the action promptly kicking off at 10am.
Results After Two Eliminations: Men’s Slalom
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz)
3rd Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails)
4th Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins)
5th Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti)
Results After Two Eliminations: Women’s Slalom
1st Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic)
2nd Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde)
3rd Marion Mortefon (Starboard / Severne)
4th Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne)
5th Deniz Sekercioglu
by Chris Yates
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6:55 PM Tue 28 Aug 2012GMT
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