by Neus Jordi
The Spanish team dominates the 49er European championship– Madrid 2016 at the end of the third day in Club Nàutic S’Arenal. Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández are still the leaders. The Athens 2004 gold medallists and the Spanish representatives at the 2008 Beijing Games have already an eight point advantage over their immediate rivals.
Strong, gusty and changeable SW winds of an average speed of 18 knots blew again in the bay of Palma. The Race Committee of Club Nàutic S’Arenal gave three starts today in the two racing areas in which each group competes. These were the last races of the qualifying series and tomorrow the 54 boats fleet – representing 22 nations- that participate in the 49er European championship- Madrid 2016 will sail the final series, divided in groups Gold and Silver.
Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández (Grand Krust Movistar) are on track to defend their 2007 European champion’s title. The Spanish sailors had an excellent day, but most crews had today a most irregular performance. With a fifth, first and tenth (the only discardable race they have right now), the duo leads the championship, with eight point advantage over their immediate rival, an extra three point advantage since yesterday.
Three teams follow them with equal points. Second place is for Spanish team Federico and Arturo Alonso (Alfa Romeo). With a third, fifth and first place the crew from Asturias are up from sixth to second place.
Third place on the podium is for Swedish team Jonas Lindberg and Kalle Torlen (Aplicator Armatec), who maintain yesterday’s overall third position, while young Austrian sailors Nico Delle Kart and Nikolaus Leopold Resch (Hobas) dropped down from second to fourth.
Italian sailors Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello, the 49 class world leaders, also dropped one place and are now fifth after two sixth finishing places and a third. The battle for sixth place is for Ukrainian crew Rodion Luka and Geogiy Leonchuk (Transbunker), another of the strong teams in this event organised by Club Nàutic S’Arenal. Danish team Jonas Barrer and Martin Kirketerp (Hempel Dong Energy) showed their strength with two partial victories and a third place, climbing up eleven places to seventh overall.
In the meantime, there are other favourite teams sailing below their best- the German Peckolt brothers(T-Systems) are 15, Australian team Nathan Outteridge and Austin Ben (crowned World champions last January in Australia) is four places behind and British team Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (G4S, 2007 world champions) are 24 overall.
Three races are scheduled tomorrow from 12:00 hours at Club Nàutic S’Arenal. These will be the first races of the final series, with the fleet divided in groups with the top 27 world teams) and silver. The final round is sailed until Saturday to decide the top ten crews that will sail the Medal race – that scores double and cannot be discarded- scheduled on Sunday.
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5:22 PM Wed 26 Mar 2008 GMT
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