The third of this season's five 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit regattas, the Region of Sardinia Trophy, starts on July 20. Last year it was the eventual winners of the Audi MedCup Circuit, Quantum Racing (USA), who conquered the fleet on the great sailing waters off Cagliari to win their first regatta of the season, marking the improvement in their standard.
With the level set so high already this season in both the TP52 Series and the GP42 Series, and two different boats in each Series having won in Alicante and Marseille, the question is will a dominant performer move ahead in Cagliari?
In the TP52 Series, after winning in France, it is Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) who lead the overall standings by a clear 26 points after 19 races including one 40 mile coastal race, but the consensus among sailors in the top ranks of the fleet is that there are at least four boats still tipped as potential Audi MedCup Circuit winners. But there are now probably six teams who have the potential to win a regatta.
Sailors from both of the top teams, Emirates Team New Zealand and Quantum Racing, will be racing this week (17th-19th July) in a series regatta for the Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series in order to learn the waters and winds better.
GP42's chomping at the bit
While the GP42's have lost one entry in their ranks – Keisuke Suzuki's team on Swing (JPN), which is undergoing modifications before being shipped to Japan – the remaining five teams are bracing for another intense series of races next week. As seen in the last Audi MedCup stage in Marseille, this group is small but highly-competitive, with any team capable of winning races.
And if the breeze ramps up to the high teens and over 20 knots, as is likely in Cagliari, watch out: these boats off the wind plane as fast as their larger TP52 bretheren, but with the added intensity of close tactical combat. This should make the gate mark roundings spectacular indeed.
And changes made to the hull forms of Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) and Caser-Endesa (ESP) have enhanced their high-wind performance, so they could be particularly tough to beat.
“We're very much looking forward to Cagliari,” says Roma 2 helmsman Paolo Cian, winner of the last stage and current series leader by 4 points. “But we know this will be a tough fight because these other teams are getting better and better with each event.”
The Audi MedCup Village will take shape over the course of this week on the historic sea front, right in the heart of the proud region of Sardinia's capital city. With its excellent racing waters, great record for winds, good shore-side infrastructure and heavy investment in regeneration and development as a tourism destination, Cagliari is constantly enhancing its reputation on the global grand prix sailing calendar.
With its new Audi MedCup Experience interactive expo, live reporting and tracking displayed in the regatta village, the site will be larger than last season but in the same position.
Racing starts for the TP52 Series with the official Practice Race on Monday 20th July and concludes on Saturday 25th July, while the GP42 Series' Practice Race is on Tuesday 21st July.
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Overall (2 events)
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 38+27,5= 65.5 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA), 40+41,5= 81,5 points
3. Matador (ARG), 36+47,5= 83,5 points
4. Artemis (SWE), 37+62,5= 99,5 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 46+55,5= 101,5 points
1. Roma (ITA), 22+17= 39 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 20+23= 43 points
3. Airis (ITA), 21+38= 59 points
4. Caser-Endesa (ESP), 33+27= 60 points
5. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 35+35= 70 points
Complete results: http://2009.medcup.org/results2/overall.php