Match Race Germany is the second stage of the World Match Racing Tour 2011 and will start next week in Langenargen. This event marks Mathieu Richard’s renewal of his quest to land the World Champion title that has eluded him to date.
The picturesque setting of Lake Contsance will provide an altogether different challenge for the six teams who competed in the Bay of Marseille at Match Race France. The prospect of lighter winds and the arrival of a new fleet of Bavaria 40S boats will provide added spice to the racing which takes place from May 25-29.
Team's will undoubtedly be hoping for a different outcome than last year after light winds saw the final cancelled and Adam Minoprio take the title on count back. In light of this team's this year may want to keep an eye out for Denmark's Jesper Radich (Adrian Lee and Partners Racing Team) who has unfinished business in Germany after coming out second best to Minoprio.
Racing in Germany follows last week's thrilling season opener where victorious debut Tour Card Holder Damien Iehl threw his hat firmly into the ring as a serious contender to the 2011 Championship. It was a consummate performance from Iehl and one that hasn't gone unnoticed amongst his rivals including team mate Mathieu Richard.
Commenting on his prospects for Match Race Germany, Richard said: 'It was a great result for Damien... I'm a good friend of his so I'm very happy for him plus it's really good for French match racing to have a win at the first World Match Racing Tour event.
'It's obviously a different start for us from last year – in 2010 we led from the beginning but now we are in the position of the hunter. We have to concentrate on making up for missing this event but I'm confident we can do that.'
Richard will be one of a number of skippers keen to get some points on the table early on in the season. Debut Tour Card Holder, Sweden's Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team) will also get his Tour campaign underway on Lake Constance in Langenargen. Like Iehl, he is going into his first event this season confident in his team's ability to upset the order:
'We've been preparing for months now so it will be good to get out there. It's definitely our goal to show how good we are. We know we can be at the top but now it's a matter of improving and seeing how strong the opponents are. We feel confident.'
'We will definitely have to keep an eye on Damien Iehl after seeing how well he raced in France. However, looking at the qualifying results, only one or two matches decided who went through. That means things could turn around at this event [Match Race Germany].'
Heading to their second Tour event of the season as Tour Card Holders are also Italy's Francesco Bruni (Mascalzone Latino), New Zealand's Phil Robertson (WAKA Racing) and Australia's Peter Gilmour (Yanmar Racing).
Alongside from the Tour Card Holders are five well accomplished teams who will be eager to give the others a run for their money. Russia's Eugeniy Neugodnikov (Team Synergy) is a familiar face in match racing having raced at the Portimao Portugal Match Cup in 2010 and earlier this year at the Congressional Cup where he placed seventh overall. Another who is familiar with the Tour is Switzerland's Eric Monnin (Team Ocalys Corum) who finished fourth at the Argo Group Gold Cup and tenth at the St Moritz Match Race.
Germanys own Stefan Meister will take the home advantage with him into Match Race Germany and having won the 2010 Deutsche Meisterschaft Match Race and finished third at the 2010 Berlin Match Race Championship he could be one to watch. Also racing in Germany as wildcard entries are New Zealand's William Tiller (Full Metal Jacket Racing) and Sweden's Bjorn Hansen (Mekonomen Sailing Team). 2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings (After Stage One)
1 Damien Iehl - 25 pts
2 Bertrand Pace – 22pts
3 Torvar Mirsky – 19pts
4 Jesper Radich – 16pts
5 Pierre Antoine Morvan – 14pts
6 Francesco Bruni – 12pts
7 Peter Gilmour – 10pts
8 Alvaro Marinho – 8pts
9 Phil Robertson – 4pts
10 Ian Williams – 2pts Full list of teams for Match Race Germany
Mathieu Richard (France) – French Match Racing Team
Bjorn Hansen (Sweden) – Mekonomen Sailing Team
Eugeney Neugodnikov (Russia) – Team Synergy
Francesco Bruni (Italy) – Mascalzone Latino
Phil Robertson (New Zealand) – WAKA Racing
Damien Iehl (France) – French Match Racing Team
Peter Gilmour (Australia) – YANMAR Racing
Eric Monnin (Switzerland) – Team Ocalys Corum
Johnie Berntsson (Sweden) – Berntsson Sailing Team
Jesper Radich (Denmark) – Adrian Lee and Partners Racing Team
William Tiller (New Zealand) – Full Metal Jacket Racing
Stefan Meister (Germany) – German Match Race Champion
Match Race Germany Website
World Match Racing Tour website