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2022 Lepanto Formula Kite European Championships in Greece - Day 2

by Andy Rice / IKA 28 Sep 2022 14:36 PDT 26 September - 2 October 2022
2022 Lepanto Formula Kite European Championships in Greece - Day 2 © Robert Hajduk / IKA media

The French were fast out of the blocks on the first day of racing at the 2022 Lepanto Formula Kite European Championships in Nafpaktos, Greece.

Poema Newland, Jessie Kampman and Alexia Fancelli hold the top three places in the 47-strong fleet after four back-to-back races in 11 to 14 knot winds on the Gulf of Patras.

1,2,3 for France

"The racing was very good, and I'm really happy to be here racing with everyone again," said Newland who notched up a scoreline of 1,2,3,2 in her half of the qualifying group. Newland, the continental European Champion from 2021, leads by a point from Kampman who's a point ahead of Fancelli in third.

Fancelli started out the session racing on her 21 square metre VMG kite but as the breeze increased she changed down to a 15 square metre alternative.

"I felt very fast with the 15," she said, "I had speed upwind and downwind and winning the third race was a special moment for me. We've done some good training as a squad and I'm coming to the competition with more confidence which really helped me today."

Winners from the far east

Other race winners in the women's competition were Jingle Chen (CHN) who improved throughout the day, Breiana Whitehead (AUS), Lauriane Nolot (FRA) and Poland's Izabela Satrian and Julia Damasiewicz. While it's not that surprising to see France and Poland up the front of the pack, the fact that China and Australia produced winners today points to how much other countries are raising their game month by month in this fast-developing sport.

The breeze picked up for the men's session later in the afternoon. With the 90-strong fleet divided into three qualifying groups, there was a lot of racing to get through. A rain cloud moving across the Gulf of Patras didn't help with setting a fair course and the increasing gustiness up to 20 knots made launching and recovery from the narrow beach hazardous for some riders. With the breeze showing no signs of steadying out, the men only completed two races in each of the three groups.

The maus that roared

Coming out ahead with scores of 1,4 was Germany's Jannis Maus who looked very comfortable in the uncomfortable conditions. On equal points with the leader is Italy's young rider, Riccardo Pianosi, while best of the strong French squad was Nico Parlier. The French rider was dominant for a four-year period up to 2019 when he took time out for his studies in physiotherapy. Although Parlier hasn't completed many regattas this season he was looking very sharp, scoring 2,3 but carrying an additional point for a Standard Penalty which has him sitting in third overall.

While Parlier is working towards qualifying for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, for him the opportunity to race at events like the Europeans is more a return to a sport that he is passionate about.

"I've been doing kiting for about 10 years, so a long time before it became an Olympic discipline," he said. "I would be doing this anyway because for me it is a passion more than profession. It's good to be here and seeing so many new riders all raising the game to a new level."

Crash, or crash?

Defending European Champion, Max Maeder (SGP), started out well with a race win before falling to 9th in the next. No regrets for the 16-year-old from Singapore, however.

"Denis [Taradin, CYP] crashed in front of me and I had two choices. I could have risked it, curve under him, possibly risking my board, my kite, my health by trying to get past him for a bullet on the finish line. Or I could crash [into the water] and avoid the worst risk. At the speeds we're travelling you're carrying so much kinetic energy it can be very dangerous, so I know I made the right choice, to choose to crash, even if as a rider you're always pushing to win."

Such is the split-second decision-making that these riders have to make when they're moving in excess of 30 knots.

Aside from Maeder and Maus, other men's race winners were Noah Runciman (USA), Toni Vodisek (SLO) and Jan Marciniak (POL).

Qualifying racing continues at 12pm local time on Thursday. By the end of the day, qualifying will be complete and the fleet will be reorganised into gold, silver and bronze groups. The last two days of the event - Saturday and Sunday - will be livestreamed on YouTube.

Results after Day 2:

Men
1. GER Jannis Maus 5pts
2. ITA Riccardo Pianosi 5pts
3. FRA Nico Parlier 6pts

Women
1. FRA Poema Newland 5pts
2. FRA Jessie Kampman 6pts
3. FRA Alexia Fancelli 7pts

Full results and more information at formulakite.org/2022europeans

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