Bureau Vallée Dream Cup
Yesterday saw two names dominate the headlines after Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) and Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne) won all 6 races completed between them, however, several other sailors stole a piece of the pie on penultimate day of the 2019 Bureau Vallée Dream Cup with today producing 5 different winners from the 6 eliminations completed. That may have been a culmination of the strong winds and tricky water conditions - with wind chop and a running swell making things hazardous - or perhaps it just highlights the incredibly high standard on the tour with so many sailors capable of winning an elimination.
Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) started the day with a much needed return to form, which saw the 28-year-old quickly rack up back-to-back bullets to steady the ship after a poor day, by her standards, yesterday.
After winning both of the opening races, Cousin Questel put herself firmly in control of the title race as those victories saw her rise to second place in the event rankings - when she only requires a top 3 finish to guarantee herself world title No.4. However, a premature start in the last race of the day means that she drops back to 3rd place and now only has a 1.9 point cushion over Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loftsails) in 4th, who luckily for Cousin Questel, was also disqualified from the 8th Winners’ Final.
Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) started the day as the event leader, and at the close of play today the 27-year-old has now built an almost unassailable 14.5 point lead heading into the final day after signing off with her 5th bullet of the week in Elimination 8.
In terms of the title race, fate still remains in Cousin Questel’s hands, but the final day promises to be filled with tension for both Mortefon and Cousin Questel. Mortefon has done everything she can up to this point and will face an agonising wait to see whether Cousin Questel can successfully defend her place on the podium or whether Guilbaud can overtake her and hand a maiden world title to Mortefon.
Despite missing out on one Winners’ Final today, Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins), has still improved her position from overnight. The Turk started the day with a 3 point advantage over Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loftsails), but ends it with a 4 point cushion after finishing second and third in the other two eliminations. Erdil remains second in the event rankings, while Guilbaud drops one place to 4th, so Erdil remains on course to claim the final place on the overall podium.
What a Difference A Day Can Make
Yesterday Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne) couldn’t put a foot wrong with the Italian winning all three eliminations, but today was a different story with the world title contender missing out on both of the opening winners’ finals, which opened the door for Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) to potentially steal control of the title race…
However, luckily for Iachino, Mortefon was unable to land a hammer blow in either of those finals with the Frenchman finishing 5th in both Elimination 6 and 7. That may yet come back to haunt Mortefon as when he had an opportunity to go for the kill and seize initiative of the title race he effectively let Iachino off the hook rather than punishing him for his mistakes.
After the completion of Elimination 7, and the second discard coming into play, there was just 0.4 of a point separating the two title contenders, which created a tense end to the day with Elimination 8 deciding who would lead the title race heading into the all important final day.
In the end, it is Iachino who will start Day 6 with a 2.7 point advantage after finishing second behind Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde), while Mortefon again only finished 5th. Mortefon held 4th for much of the race but was just pipped by Bruno Martini (I-99 / Challenger Sails) in the closing staged, which could yet prove pivotal in deciding the title.
So, after a disastrous start to the day, Iachino walks away at the top of the event rankings, while Mortefon falls one place to third - tied on 18.7 points with Albeau. With so little between Iachino and Mortefon, the title could still go either way and it is likely that whoever holds their nerve better will be crowned the 2019 Men’s PWA Slalom World Champion.
Albeau maintains his remarkable record of qualifying for every Winners’ Final this week, but after firing so many blanks in the final, AA finally notched up the bullet he has been searching for in Elimination 8. Albeau may be out of the running for the world title, but that victory puts him firmly in contention for the event title heading into the final day.
Elsewhere, Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails), who earned his best ever finish in an elimination - second - earlier in the week, went one better today as the Aruban led from start to finish to earn his first bullet on the world tour in Elimination 7, which sees the 22-year-old climb one spot to 6th.
Having won his first elimination on the world tour earlier this year in Denmark, something seems to have clicked for Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) with the Croat claiming his second bullet of the week (and 3rd overall) in Elimination 6. Marotti pulled off some unbelievable comebacks - showing an unbelievable turn of pace to reel in his rivals when it looked like he had virtually no chance to do so. Marotti climbs 4 places from the overnight rankings - 9th to 5th - and is on course to record his best result on the world tour.
Like Iachino, Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) endured a torrid start to the day, which threatened to undo all of his hard work from earlier in the event. However, the Pole was able to steady the ship with an excellent 3rd in Elimination 8 to finish the day in 4th place. The podium now looks out of his reach as he trails Albeau and Mortefon by 9.3 points, but there is all still to play for, for Rutkowski with a place in the overall top 10 at stake.
Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) falls two places to 7th, while Julien Quentel (Patrik / GUNSAILS) remains in 8th. Quentel was unlucky in Elimination 7 as he broke his fin as he crossed the start line when in the Winners' Final.
Bruno Martin enjoyed a superb day with the Italian recording two 4th places and a 10th from the 3 eliminations completed today, which sees him break into the top 10 for the first time this week - 9th.
The top 10 is currently completed by Marco Lang (Fanatic / Duotone), who slips 4 places from the overnight rankings, but there are a bunch of sailors behind him who can still challenge for the event top 10 tomorrow.
The trade winds are expected to be slightly lighter tomorrow, but it should still be plenty windy enough for a full day of racing and the world title contenders will need to gear up for another gruelling day with the plan being to try and complete 3 more eliminations, which means there’s still plenty of time for the world title battles to change. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 9am (GMT+11) on Saturday morning with the racing commencing from 10am onwards.
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Current Ranking 2019 Bureau Vallée Dream Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After 8 Eliminations
1st Marion Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone)
2nd Lena Erdil (TUR | Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins)
3rd Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA | Starboard / S2Maui)
4th Maëlle Guilbaud (FRA | Patrik / Loftsails)
5th Lilou Granier (NC | Starboard / Phantom Sails)
Current Ranking 2019 Bureau Vallée Dream Cup - Men’s Slalom
*After 8 Eliminations
1st Matteo Iachino (ITA | Starboard / Severne)
2nd Antoine Albeau (FRA | JP / NeilPryde)
3rd Pierre Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins)
4th Maciek Rutkowski (POL | FMX Racing / Challenger Sails)
5th Enrico Marotti (CRO | JP / NeilPryde)
6th Ethan Westera (ARU | Tabou / GA Sails)
7th Jordy Vonk (NED | Fanatic / Duotone)
8th Julien Quentel (SXM | Patrik / GUNSAILS)
9th Bruno Martini (ITA | I-99 / Challenger Sails)
10th Marco Lang (AUT | Fanatic / Duotone)