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Lehtinen and Souter lead World Match racing

'Souter is tying for first place after Day 2 but the competition is snapping at her heels in the BSPORT ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championships'    Ivor Wilkins/Offshore Images    Click Here to view large photo

Both Britain's Gibson and Farrell could only watch as Silja Lehtinen of Finland and and Nicky Souter of Australia tied for the lead at the Women's Match Racing Worlds on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. Gibson and Farrell will get the chance to qualify for the Quarter Finals when Flights 15 to 19 in the Round Robin are sailed tomorrow

With 14 out of 19 Flights raced Lehtinen and Souter both have nine wins and only two losses to their credit and are closely tailed by defending champion and world number one Claire Leroy of France.

Lehtinen is enjoying her mastery of the fresh and gusty conditions. Like her home ground in Finland, the geography is confined and the breeze is shifty. But unlike her home ground, the tide and currents are strong, and so was the breeze today: after a long delay due to lack of wind this morning, racing started at lunchtime in a 16-22 knot northerly that made for great spectator viewing and very close finishes, such as her last race against Katie Spithill.

Gemma Farrell lost both her races today to have three wins from nine races so far. Josie Gibson has a four wins from eight races score and will race Friday to avoid the repecharge.

Flights 15 to 19 in the Round Robin will be sailed tomorrow, with the top six teams qualifying for the Quarter Finals, and the remaining eight skippers sailing a Repecharge round, of which the best two will go through.

Total Points (after flight 14)

Silja Lehtinen FIN - 9 wins / 2 loss / 11 races
Nicky Souter AUS - 9 / 2 / 11
Claire Leroy FRA - 7 / 2 / 9
Silka Hahlbrock GER - 7 / 4 / 11
Liz Baylis USA - 6 / 4 / 10
Jessica Smyth NZL - 5 / 4 / 9
Lotte Meldgaard DEN - 6 / 5 / 11
Katie Spithill AUS - 6 / 6 / 12
Josie Gibson GBR - 4 / 4 / 8
Gemma Farrell GBR - 3 / 6 / 9
Sabrina Gurioli ITA - 2 / 7 / 9
Christelle Philippe FRA - 3 / 7 / 10
Jan Dawson NZL - 2 / 7 / 9
Camilla Ulrikkeholm DEN - 1 / 10 / 11

The BSPORT ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championships are hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and sponsored by BSPORT, Giltrap City Toyota and Auckland City Council.

by Zoe Hawkins


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2:44 PM Thu 3 Apr 2008 GMT

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