The 2007 Catalunya Costa Brava PWA World Cup Slalom - Day 2
It’s all up for grabs after 2 Races in tricky conditions. Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) etches a slim event lead over World Champion Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde). Consistency from Steve Allen (Tabou / Gaastra) keep him in the frame in third overall so far. Tour leader Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails blows out with gear failure, and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1 / North) grafts a race win to stay in the running.
Top of the agenda this afternoon was the completion of Race 1, which was left just short of the semi final stage.
Race 1 was a scrappy, disjointed affair. The first surprise of the day came in a heavily loaded 3rd qualification heat when tour leader Kevin Pritchard snapped a mast and failed to advance.
By now the wind had gusted up a lot, and started to cause problems. Even Bjorn Dunkerbeck fell and finished 11th, as did Arnon Dagan (Fanatic / NeilPryde) who was also a victim of the stronger wind. ‘I didn’t really have a great start, and I was set for the lighter winds on my 7.8 but got really back-handed and started spinning out everywhere. It was pretty hectic out there’
But, the final was clean race won clearly by Buzianis who clearly outpaced Albeau, and Jimmy Diaz (F2 / North), who bagged a crucial 3rd.
Buzianis, still struggling for breath after the intense encounter said ‘I had a good start – I think everyone was a bit late but I think I held it together pretty well. I had good board speed and I reckon I pulled away from everyone in the first leg and put it on as hard as I could, and then rounded the marks well all the way round to make it count’.
Race Director Juan Antonio Aragon then opted for a half-fleet format to try and make the most of the strong wind and crack through some races.
This was the best action of the day, making a spectacular sight for the crowds on the beach as 24 sailors in two qualification heats blazed downwind.
Half Fleet Heat 1:
1. Antoine Albeau
2. Bjorn Dunkerbeck
3. Patrik Diethelm (F2 / North)
Half Fleet Heat 2:
1. Bernd Flessner (F2 / NeilPryde)
2. Pieter Bijl
3. Julien Quentel (Starboard / NeilPryde)
In the final Dunkerbeck hammered home a key result after his Race 1 disaster.
Antoine Albeau the current world champ pushed him hard but just couldn’t catch the legend, now racing with a Swiss sail number SUI-11.
The Frenchman seemed fairly satisfied with second place. ‘I had a good start, upwind by the boat while Bjorn and Micah were down at the Pin-end. At first I was faster than Micah, but Bjorn was flying even though I tried to catch him at the third mark. In fact I was pushing so hard and going so fast I couldn’t unhook in time to go for it!’
Bjorn was pretty happy with his result. ‘Well, unlike the first race where I was spinning out crossing the start line, this time I had a good start, and great speed and kept everyone on my tail. One mistake though and it would’ve been game over. Once I was in the lead I was going at about 90% capacity, and kept a bit in the reserve tank in case I needed it. Slalom racing is about getting a good start, and a good first leg, but of course, from then you’ve got to drive it home’
Buzianis claimed third, this time on a 7.8 after using an 8.4 in the first race final that he won. Steve Allen’s fourth place meant he keeps third overall overnight.
Results after 2 races:
1. Micah Buzianis
2. Antoine Albeau
3. Steve Allen
It’ll be fascinating tomorrow to see if anyone’s got what it takes to seize the bull by the horns and establish up a significant lead.
Skipper’s meeting is at 10.00, and the forecast is once again positive for an afternoon thermal wind.
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© PWA / Brian McDowell