Ulsan PWA World Cup
Day 4 of the 2019 Ulsan PWA World Cup produced the most racing of the week so far with a further 2 Women’s Foil Eliminations and the opening 9 heats of the Men’s Slalom being completed. However, things were incredibly slow going with those 11 heats taking 6 arduous hours to complete with the wind fluctuating both in strength and direction, which made racing tricky, to say the least.
Overnight leader - Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui / Starboard Foil) - started the day with a one point advantage over Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / LOKEFOIL), but after a further two races were completed today the current world tour leader has opened up her advantage to 2.3 points after claiming her second bullet in 4 eliminations and a 3rd.
Marion Mortefon remains Cousin Questel’s closest rival in second place after a second and 3rd place today, but she now has Marina Alabau breathing down her neck - just 1 point behind. For a short time, it looked as though Alabau M. would be leading the event as after winning the third elimination, the 33-year-old held pole position in the fourth race after rounding the upwind mark first. However, Alabau M. crashed on the next reach when trying to adjust her harness line, which saw her drop from first to 4th. That result still allows Alabau. M to discard the 9th place from the first race to improve from 5th to 3rd in the overall rankings, but she will know she could have potentially been at the top of the rankings. Alabau M. Is now just 1 point behind Mortefon in second and has closed to within 2.7 points of Cousin Questel with two days to go.
Meanwhile, Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil) and Hella Oppedal (Fanatic / Duotone) both fall one place to 4th and 5th respectively.
After the opening 11 eliminations (7 in Japan and 4 so far in South Korea) the above top 5 women have firmly established themselves as the current top seeds in the Foiling discipline.
The opening two rounds of the Men’s Slalom saw the usual suspects advance with no real upsets. However, in the first 3 quarterfinals that followed there was a multitude of big upsets.
In the opening quarterfinal - Heat 7 - last year’s world No.5 and No.7 - Julien Quentel (Patrik / Gun Sails) and Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins) - as well as current world No.3 - Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails) all suffered early exits. However, it will be Toselli and Kördel who will be particularly disappointed to have missed out as they were qualifying in the previous 3 efforts to complete the heat, but missed out in the one that counted. Qualifying from Heat 7 are Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails), Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Phantom Sails / Chopper Fins), Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) and Taty Frans (Future Fly / Point-7).
In Heat 8 Arnon Dagan (Future Fly / NeilPryde) and Bruno Martini (I-99 / Point-7), who finished 7th in Marignane were both disqualified for false starts. After several failed attempts to complete the heat due to big holes in the wind, the second quarterfinal was eventually validated, but there were more big name casualties with reigning world champion - Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) - and current world No.10 - Marco Lang (Fanatic / Duotone) being eliminated. Albeau appeared to be impeded by seaweed on the opening reach meaning the Frenchman lost valuable ground, while Lang also trailed into the first mark and in the light airs it is incredibly difficult to reduce the deficit. Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) won the heat ahead of Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins), Ben van der Steen (Goya Windsurfing / Gun Sails) and Ingmar Daldorf (Tabou / GA Sails) - all of whom qualify for the top 16.
Heat 9 proved to be the final heat of the day and there was further drama with Andrea Ferin (I-99 / Challenger Sails / AL360) claiming that Steve Allen (Patrik / Severne) had t-boned him at the first mark when in the qualifying positions. However, no action was taken and the result stands. Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) would go on to win the heat ahead of Finian Maynard (FMX Racing), Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) and Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne), who did well to overtake Allen to grab the final qualifying position. However, both Basile Jacquin (I-99 / Point-7) and Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) miss out.
With the wind continuing to frustrate the racing was eventually called off shortly after 7pm. The sailors will meet again tomorrow morning at 8am (GMT+9) for the skippers’ meeting with the action commencing from 9am onwards. The wind is expected to be slightly stronger on Wednesday, but the strength was never the really the issue today and key point for tomorrow will be the consistency of the wind. On paper though there is the potential for a solid day of racing.
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Current Ranking 2019 Ulsan PWA World Cup - Women’s Foil
*After 4 Eliminations
1st Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA - Starboard / S2Maui / Starboard Foil)
2nd Marion Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / Duotone / LOKEFOIL)
3rd Marina Alabau (ESP - Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil)
4th Blanca Alabau (ESP - Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil)
5th Helle Oppedal (NOR - Fanatic / Duotone)