Bureau Vallée Dream Cup
With the trade winds returning with a vengeance on day 4 of the Bureau Vallée Dream Cup, the racing went to another dimension today with 20-30 knot winds and treacherous choppy waters making for an exhilarating day of competition. By the end of the day, two names have stolen the headlines - Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) and Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne) - with both sailors winning all 3 eliminations completed today!
Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) enjoyed her best day to date on the world tour as the 27-year-old produced a devastating performance on day 4 to win all 3 eliminations completed today, which means she has now won the last 4 races and currently holds a perfect record after discarding a second place from the opening race. Mortefon now has a stranglehold over the event with a 7.7 point lead over her next closest challenger Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins), while more importantly, if things were to remain as they are at the moment she would also pip - Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) - to the 2019 Women’s PWA World Championship.
While Mortefon is doing everything in her power to deny Cousin Questel, the fact remains that fate remains out of her hands, and in Cousin Questel’s. At the moment, the reigning world champion finds herself in 4th place, which is just one place short of the top 3 finish she requires to guarantee herself a 4th world title. The 28-year-old trails third place - Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loftsails) - by just 2.7 points, but there is plenty of cause for concern in the Cousin Questel camp as she just simply doesn’t look her normal clinical self. The 3-time world champion has won the previous 3 editions of this event but looks to be struggling with a 2nd, a 5th and an 8th today. The title is still well within her grasp, but she now can’t afford any more mistakes.
Battle For The Overall Podium
Lena Erdil enjoyed another solid day of racing as the Turk recorded two second places and a third, which means she has not finished outside the top 3 yet in the opening 5 eliminations. Crucially for Erdil, her performance today sees her leapfrog - Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loftsails) - into second place. The two women are involved in a separate battle of their own for the last place on the prestigious overall podium and as things stand Erdil would finish 3rd overall. Erdil currently holds a 3 point advantage over Guilbaud heading into the final two days of the event.
Yesterday, Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne) made a solid, if unspectacular start to the event, but after laying the framework on Day 3, the Italian clicked into top gear today to blow away the rest of the competition with 3 decisive bullets, which sees him establish himself not only as the event leader, but also as the favourite for the 2019 world title. Iachino’s hat-trick here should not be underestimated as the last time he achieved such a feat was in Sylt in 2016, while the man to do it most recently was Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) in Fuerteventura last year.
Iachino still only holds a 3.6 point advantage over his main title contender - Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) - but he showed his ruthless killer instinct today, while also displaying a humble confidence, which makes him such a formidable competitor and hard man to bet against.
However, the title race is still far from over with Mortefon hauling himself back into contention after that disastrous start yesterday. The Frenchman is the biggest mover of the day, after recording 1 second and two 3rds, which seems him gain 23 spots from 25th to second and with two full days of racing to go there is still all to play for with the title race now firmly lit!
Two Horse Race?
With the two favourites for the world title - Iachino and Mortefon - set to go head-to-head over the coming days, it looks as though Antoine Albeau’s hopes of claiming a 26th world title are almost over. The reigning world champion now trails Iachino by 14.9 points, which realistically, would require a monumental meltdown by both Iachino and Mortefon to allow Albeau back into the picture as both men would need to finish outside the top 5 to give Albeau any hope. Albeau, still remains 4th in the event rankings and is the only sailor who can still boast a 100% winners’ final record this week, but he has uncharacteristically faltered in the finals. A position he is usually so clinical in - last year once qualifying for the final Albeau had a win rate of 68.75% - so for him not to have one of the 5 finals here is quite something.
Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) started the day as the event leader and despite another solid day, the Pole slips two places to third. The 27-year-old missed out on the winners’ final of Elimination 3 after being disqualified from the semifinals for a premature start. However, he bounced back strongly by qualifying for the next two winners’ finals - recording a second and a 5th - which leaves him in a solid third place as he aims to earn consecutive podiums on the world tour.
Elsewhere, Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) falls two places to 5th, while his teammate Marco Lang (Fanatic / Duotone) gains 8 places, which sees the Austrian rise into 6th place. Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) slips one place to 6th.
Local boy - Damien Cervera (Starboard / Severne) - enjoyed an incredible day with the 21-year-old producing an inspired display at his home event. Cervera breaks into the top 10 - 8th - after qualifying for all 3 winners’ finals today - finishing 4th, 6th and 8th.
The top 10 is currently completed by Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) and Julien Quentel (Patrik / GUNSAILS) - 9th and 10th respectively. The two sailors were involved in an altercation after Elimination 5 - which could yet see Quentel disciplined.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails), Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) and Antoine Questel (I-99 / S2Maui) all drop out of the current top 10.
With another excellent forecast to come for Friday - with 18-22 knot south-easterly winds predicted and clearer skies - there should be another exciting day of racing ahead. The sailors will meet again at 9am tomorrow morning for the skippers’ meeting with the racing commencing from 10am (GMT+11) onwards.
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Current Ranking 2019 Bureau Vallée Dream Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After 5 Eliminations
1st Marion Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone)
2nd Lena Erdil (TUR | Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins)
3rd Maëlle Guilbaud (FRA | Patrik / Loftsails)
4th Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA | Starboard / S2Maui)
5th Lilou Granier (NC | Starboard / Phantom Sails)
Current Ranking 2019 Bureau Vallée Dream Cup - Men’s Slalom
*After 5 Eliminations
1st Matteo Iachino (ITA | Starboard / Severne)
2nd Pierre Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins)
3rd Maciek Rutkowski (POL | FMX Racing / Challenger Sails)
4th Antoine Albeau (FRA | JP / NeilPryde)
5th Jordy Vonk (NED | Fanatic / Duotone)
6th Marco Lang (AUT | Fanatic / Duotone)
7th Ethan Westera (ARU | Tabou / GA Sails)
8th Damien Cervera (FRA | Starboard / Severne)
9th Enrico Marotti (CRO | JP / NeilPryde)
10th Julien Quentel (SXM | Patrik / GUNSAILS)