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2024 Formula Wing Europeans Day 2: The first to cross the finish line is the first to the sauna!

by Jemima Crathorne 12 Jun 13:46 PDT 11-16 June 2024
High altitude racing amongst the snowy mountains of Switzerland - 2024 Formula Wing European Championships © IWSA media / Sailing Energy

Following some fresh snowfall last night, the mountains of Silvaplana delivered icy conditions for the first day of course racing. It was certainly a 'head out of the board' day; riders had to keep an eye on the gusty and shifting winds, as is often the case for mountainous venues like these.

Today's racing certainly put the spectators of Silvaplana on the edge of their seats! The two-lap races were full of opportunity, with nothing certain right up until the finish line

Big gusts. Even bigger opportunities.

Maddalena Spanu [ITA] continues to top the women's leaderboard, clinching yet another race victory following a close battle with Orane Ceris [FRA]. Ceris remarks, "It was super complicated on the racecourse as the wind was crazy shifty. It's all about luck; I'll aim to stay lucky in the upcoming days," echoing the unpredictable nature of the sport. Ceris' luck continued into the next race as she claimed the final bullet of the day, closely followed by Hong Kong's Wai Yan Ngai in second place. The changeable conditions offered numerous tactical opportunities, while also leaving lots of room for error, "you need to stay focused right until the end" remarked Ngai. "The gusts are so strong that I even fell in the water at the start of the first race today, but luckily, I was still able to catch up. After that, my strategy was to keep an eye on the gusts, be ready for it and stay with it." Ngai adds that the biggest challenge was to "save energy and keep the fingers warm while waiting for the next race."

A race day to remember

Following yesterday's marathon, the men were split into 3 fleets for the qualifying series. France's Oscar Leclair proceeded to dominate his fleet with impressive consistency amidst the tough conditions. Leclair commented, "we couldn't feel our hands or feet. It was really strange to wing like this, not being able to feel the foot straps! It's been a long time since I've trained in weather like this, usually I'm running away from the cold!" Regarding his winning strategy, Leclair humorously remarked, "I knew if I went as fast as possible, I would cross the line first and be able to get back to the sauna first!"

Bastien Escofet's solid performance in the same fleet keeps him in the overall lead, whilst Kamil Manowiecki [POL] climbs to second place in the overall standings. Light wind on the launch area caught the racers off guard, unanimously opting for their biggest wings. Manowiecki reflects, "in the first race I had my big wing, but I didn't feel comfortable tacking as I was overpowered. During the break, I made the decision to return to shore to change to a smaller wing. It was the tactical choice for the short course racing, as it was easier to adapt to the short but powerful gusts." The decision paid off, resulting in a race win against Francesco Cappuzzo [ITA], who had won the previous race.

In the third fleet, it was a showdown between Mathis Ghio [FRA], and Alessandro Tomasi [ITA], who won the event here in Silvaplana last year. "It was a race day to remember!" remarked Ghio. Drawing from his training in similar conditions on the lake earlier in the week, Ghio used what he'd experienced to help wrap his head around the difficult conditions. "A lot of tactics were required, but there was definitely a similar pattern to what I discovered in training" Ghio explained. He adds, "it was great to be in the same fleet as Ale, we had some tight battles in the front. Constantly overtaking each other the entire race; in the final race, I hit a lull and Ale came like a bullet from behind and overtook me."

Tomorrow is the last day of qualifying races and will decide who will progress to Gold fleet for the men. You can track your favourite riders live on Metasail throughout the week and stay updated day to day through our social channels.

Results Men

1. Bastien Escofet FRA 2.6 p
2. Kamil Manowiecki POL 3,6 p
3. Oscar Leclair FRA 4.0 p

Results Women

1. Maddalena Spanu ITA 3.0 p
2. Marta Monge ITA 10.0 p
3. Wai Yan Ngai HKG 10.0 p

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