The 2007 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - Day 3
Errors all-round help Antoine Albeau build a sizeable event lead backed-up by a useful race 9 win. Kevin Pritchard clings onto second position as Micah Buzianis ghosts into contention in third overall. Karin Jaggi’s grip on the women’s event lead is weakened as Valerie Ghibaudo wins 2 of the days 3 races. Iballa Moreno continues to hustle hard and climb-up into third after an exhilerating race 11 win.
Sotavento delivered the goods again today with more classic slalom racing on the menu.
3 Women’s races and 3 Men’s races were planned and successfully held in bright sunshine and 20-30 knots of wind. A longer 6-leg course was chosen for the first 2 races before a shorter course with a speed reach after the start was selected in the afternoon.
Men’s Race 7
• Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) had a shocker in his qualifying heat and only managed to finish in 8th. That cost him a berth in the second semi-final.
• Finian Maynard (F2 / NeilPryde) and Ben van der Steen (Exocet / Naish) collided in the first semi-final meaning both missed-out on slots in the final.
Final: Josh Angulo led the fleet down the first reach after a precise start bang on the gun. He was pursued by Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) and event leader Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) towards the first mark.
Buzianis however had the speed to round the mark in first before Albeau cut an inside line to hold an upwind position on the second reach. By the third reach Angulo was super-deep, and Albeau had no problems in overtaking him to round the third mark in second.
At the final gybe Albeau and Buzianis both gybed tightly to the mark, but Albeau couldn’t quite slip into a commanding position for the final reach. Buzianis took his first race win of the event and some valuable points to help his uncharacteristically poor performance so far.
Men’s Race 8
• Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) who sat in third overnight had a nightmare in his qualification heat and just missed a chance at the semi-finals by one place.
• Josh Angulo also failed to advance after he was disqualified for a premature start in the first heat of the race. So far the Cabo Verdian has made an impressive return to the slalom scene and show signs of being a real threat should he choose to make a full-time return to the fold.
• Another name making another final showing why he’s bound to be a force for the future in this his debut year on the Slalom tour was Julien Quentel (Starboard / NeilPryde). The youngster from the Caribbean is earning a solid reputation here amongst much heavier and more experienced competitors.
Final: Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic / North) took his second race win of the season with a start-to-finish lead. The Frenchman started perfectly pursued by Maynard and Buzianis. Buzianis took Maynard on the second reach with Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1 / North), who’d also passed Maynard, hot on his heels.
Over the third and fourth reaches Maynard and Dunkerbeck struggled against each other for second place after Dunkerbeck had edged-out Buzianis at the third gybe.
At the fifth and final mark Dunkerbeck finally got the better of Maynard and stormed down the last reach to score second. Meanwhile further down the fleet Albeau had recovered from a poor start to the race and traffic in his way to fight his way back up to 5th – one place ahead of Maynard who slowed at that final gybe. Buzianis rolled in third.
Women’s Race 9
A clean start all-round and a crash-free first gybe meant competition for the top places was rife in the ladies first race of the day. Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou) however kept her initial lead by slowing for control at the gybes and using all her speed on the reaches to build a lead.
Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) tried to pass Ghibaudo on the last reach after she’d fought her way past Italy’s Verena Fauster (F2 / Gaastra) into second.
Ghibaudo took the victory and event leader Jaggi had to settle for second whilst Fauster secured third.
Women’s Race 10
Ghibaudo started at the pin-end and streaked towards the first mark in the lead. Behind her Jaggi fell whilst gybing which let Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde) into second place. Ghibaudo made sure she gybed safely around the third mark shadowed by Offringa and Iballa Moreno (North). Ghibaudo won a ruthlessly finished race and Offringa coasted home in second.
Jaggi worked her way back up the fleet with incredible speed, and gybed wide at the fourth mark in an effort to pass Moreno on the fourth reach. Jaggi finally did sneak inside Moreno at the fifth and final mark and the two North team mates had a great photo finish for 3rd which the Swiss star edged by a whisker.
Women’s Race 11
Jaggi and Ghibaudo characteristically led from the start but then collided with eachother as they turned into the first gybe - leaving the door wide-open for Fauster and Moreno to skirt around them.
Unbelievably Moreno then headed for the wrong mark entering the second reach and had to head-up into the wind hard to get back on track. Luckily Moreno kept the initiative and rounded mark 2 in the lead with Fauster and Offringa hot on her heels.
By the third gybe Sarah Hebert (Starboard / Naish) had passed Offringa into third position. But, by the fourth mark everything changed. Jaggi had typically clawed her way back into contention and her final gybe showed exactly why she’s got more world titles than any women windsurfer ever.
The crowds were thrilled to witness a breathtaking final reach as Jaggi, now in second, blasted towards the finish in a desperate attempt to catch Moreno. Moreno crossed the line just in time to deny Jaggi a famous race win as Ghibaudo narrowly missed a shot at third behind Offringa.
After lunch the men headed back out for a final race over a shorted 5-leg course
Men’s Race 9
• With the results all over the show at this event it was almost no surprise that another big player would take a fall early in this race. Eyebrows were raised when Bjorn Dunkerbeck tripped-up in the first semi-final to leave a massive opportunity for the rest of the top 10 to capitalize upon.
• Quentel continued a good day with another final appearance as did Nicolas Reynes (Tabou / Gaastra) who made his third final of the event.
Final: Micah Buzianis led the pack down the first reach of the final chased by Albeau and Peter Volwater, who then fell at the first mark causing a massive pile-up. That gifted Ross Williams a chance to pass by into third
But, as the second gybe approached Albeau looked intent on a passing move on Buzianis which he successfully pulled-off to take the lead. Williams and Buzianis stayed glued to the trail until Kevin Pritchard mimicked Albeau’s manoeuvre by swooshing Williams to slide into third.
Albeau coasted home in first and Pritchard couldn’t quite steal second from fellow American Buzianis.
Sotavento promises to deliver more of the same tomorrow. The first possible start is set for 11.30 from when you’re welcome to join us at www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the action with our live event ticker, daily news summaries, video footage, awesome photo galleries, online elimination ladders and more!
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© PWA / Brian McDowell