The 2006 Alacati PWA World Cup / IFCA Slalom World Championships - Day 2
After a superb opening day, the 2006 Slalom 42 Title was all to play for again, after Finian Maynard (KV-11, F2 / Neil Pryde), blew the opposition out of the water with 2 straight wins out of the first 2 races. In the Women’s division, Allison Shreve (AUS-911, F2 / Neil Pryde) was leading by just 1.3 points after disastrously missing one of the three ladies races already held.
There is rarely time for any leader to rest on their laurels in pro windsurfing, and sure enough, by 11am, the wind was building ready for another day of windsurfing combat.
Race number 3 for the men got underway and, despite a few breaks caused by unusually inconsistent winds, the early heats all passed without incident. In the quarter finals Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, T-1 / North Sails), Antoine Albeau (FRA-192, Starboard / Neil Pryde), Micah Buzianis (USA-34, JP / Neil Pryde) and Maynard all looked in contention, winning their respective heats. Notable in the semis were Julien Quentel (FRA-421, Starboard / Neil Pryde) and Turkish star Ertugrul Icingir (TUR-1) who both showed they could keep up with the big guns of slalom. Ross Williams (GBR-83, Tabou / Gaastra) also made his mark by crossing the line early and being forced to sit out the rest of the race on the premature bench.
In the first semi, Kevin Pritchard (US-3, Starboard / Maui Sails) defended his lead well to beat Albeau around the course and Quentel again showed great ability beating Dunkerbeck for fifth and leaving the 12 time Overall Champ out of contention in the losers final. However, more upset was to come when Maynard also failed to qualify in the second semi, joining Dunkerbeck and joint 2005 PWA champ Buzianis in the losers round.
After 2 false starts, the losers final got underway, but with so many of the top names of slalom in the heat, it looked like a final line up. Despite the calibre of his co finalists, Maynard led clearly from the start and Buzianis and Dunkerbeck never really showed much chance of catching him, finishing second and third respectively.
A somewhat rejuvenated Pritchard was the first to reach the mark in the final, gybing just inches ahead of Albeau who was showing the event winning form he had lacked so much the previous day. Through sheer speed, Albeau passed Pritchard on the second reach leaving the American spitting in his wake. Not far behind Pritchard, Jimmy Diaz (ISV-11, F2 / North Sails) was sailing as consistently as ever and holding his ground ahead of Quentel and Ben Van Der Steen (NED-57, Exocet / Naish). Albeau rounded the final mark, now safely ahead of Pritchard and Diaz who in turn had sufficient margin to ensure that Quentel could not catch them. Albeau took the honours for yet another race win on the 2006 tour, with Pritchard in second, Diaz third and Quentel a very respectable fourth.
After a short break, race number 4 was started but had to be abandoned after the first few heats due to failing winds.
On the women’s side, the tables were levelled somewhat by the fact that Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2 / North Sails) had finally received her equipment, meaning she was now fully armed and, as a result, very dangerous! Straight off the line Jaggi was back in the game leading Verena Fauster (ITA-31, F2 / Gaastra), Allison Shreeve (AUS-911, F2 / Neil Pryde) and an on-form Christine Johnston (GBR-93, Starboard / Gaastra), all the way to the mark. Fauster was pushing hard demonstrating more of the ability that has seen her frequently in the leading pack, but Jaggi was back on the pace and led all the way to the finish. Sarah Herbert (FRA-61, Starboard / Naish) made a valiant attempt to pass Johnston on the final reach but could not quite get past, leaving the finishing positions the same, Jaggi first, Fauster second and Shreeve third.
With a new found lust for victory, Fauster hit the start line for ladies race 5 with renewed venom. Outstripping Switzerland’s finest to reach mark number one first. Shreeve could do little apart from watch the two leaders battle it out in front of her as she tried everything she could to make ground on them, but it was to no avail. Fauster held Jaggi off through the gybes and maintained her speed along the reaches to give zero opportunity for overtaking. Fauster took the chequered flag ahead of Jaggi in second, Shreeve in third and Herbert once again holding her own in fourth.
After a disastrous round today, Maynard just clings on to the event lead ahead of the ever present and ever threatening Albeau. Maynard’s form has been impressive in the flat Alacati conditions, but no one can question the capability of Albeau and with a possible 7 races to go, there is still much to play for.
With the preliminary heats of men’s race 4 already completed it will be straight into quarter final action tomorrow, but you can follow all the action, as it happens, here at www.pwaworldtour.com!
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