Formula Kite World Champs Day 3

HIGHLIGHTS
– Mistral offshore breeze of 5 to 12 knots shakes up the pack on day 3
– Daniela Moroz (USA) the only rider still to have won all races
– Toni Vodisek (SLO) stays at the top of the men’s fleet
– End of qualifying means disappointment for those who had hoped for gold fleet glory


The offshore Mistral breeze looked promising but only half-choked into action for day three of the 2022 Formula Kite World Championships in Cagliari, Sardinia.

For the riders who chose to sit out the recent Lepanto Formula Kite European Championships in Nafpaktos, Greece, this was a day to prove that the extra training time out of Poetto Beach had been worth it.

OFFSHORE SHIFTY

Daniela Moroz from USA gave up the chance to defend her European title in order to improve her chances of defending the world title. “We haven’t had many offshore racing days on the circuit this season and I wanted to come here early to experience the whole range of conditions that Cagliari offers”, said the American. There was only one race for the women today, but Moroz did at least win her side of the qualifying heats, and counts a perfect five wins from five races.

kite worlds
Photo Credits: IKA Media / Robert Hajduk

Lauriane Nolot from France admitted she didn’t enjoy today’s more tactical conditions although a 2nd place was far from a disaster for the fast Frenchwoman. “Flat water, the whole fleet was on 21 square metre kites and everyone going the same speed”, said Nolot, who is used to exerting a speed advantage in wavier conditions. The winner of the race was Great Britain’s Ellie Aldridge, part of the British squad who had also missed out the Europeans for more training time in Sardinia.

“Today was a reminder that we made the right decision to spend more time here, for sure”, said Aldridge, runner-up in last year’s Worlds. “The offshore stuff is very tactical. It’s about spotting where the pressure is coming from, avoiding the big holes and making sure you’re taking the right wind shift to take you towards the best pressure. The more you sail in it, the more you get used to it, and you know what to expect from it.”

Aldridge switched to kiting after growing up racing in dinghies, including two years of campaigning the 49erFX Olympic skiff. “I think that a sailing background really helps you out on a tactical, shifty day like we had today”, she said. Also going well is another former 49erFX sailor, Leonie Meyer from Germany, who is being coached by 49er Olympic gold medallist and now kiteboarding addict, Iker Martinez. Meyer’s 2nd in the race behind Moroz puts the German in third place overall going into Friday’s gold fleet competition.

kite worlds
Photo Credits: IKA Media / Robert Hajduk

VODISEK & MAZELLA AVOID THE POT HOLES

Two races for each of the three qualifying groups in the men’s fleet, and from those six races came six different winners. None of the multiple-race winners won a race today, yet two 2nd places keep Slovenian Toni Vodisek at the top of the pile, with Axel Mazella from France on equal points with the Slovenian once the discard is taken into account. Best performance of the day came from Italian rider Riccardo Pianosi who scored 1,2 to rise to 8th overall. Considering Pianosi has no former background in watersports, coming instead from a street life of parkour and skateboarding, it’s impressive that the athletic Italian made sense of such difficult, tactical conditions.

The 17-year-old Italian has often had to live in the shadow of the 16-year-old Max Maeder from Singapore, twice taking the Youth Worlds silver medal behind the double Youth World Champion from Singapore. However today saw Maeder suffer a rare slip from form as scores of 9,10 dropped the Singaporean to 9th overall, 3 points behind Pianosi.

NO SUCH THING AS BAD LUCK

As ever, the wiser-than-his years Maeder was allowing himself no excuses. “Maybe I was on the end of some bad luck, but maybe not. Someone crashed in front of me and I couldn’t avoid them in time, so maybe I need to work better on my spatial awareness. And in the other race I did a port tack start behind the fleet aiming towards what I thought was the better breeze, and it didn’t come through for me. Looking back at it, I should have started on starboard and stayed with the fleet.”

Denis Taradin from Cyprus scored 3,1 from his races, lifting the Cypriot rider to third overall. “There were ventilation issues again in the water so I wasn’t pushing too hard”, said Taradin in spite of his good scores. “My goal was to try to stay in the centre of the course and not push too much to the edges. It’s harder for everyone because the wind is more gusty and shifty. You really have to be able to see the gusts and react accordingly.” It might have been two wins for Taradin today but for picking up a plastic bag on his foil. “I had to slow down to shake it off and Theo [de Ramecourt – FRA] went past me. Not much you can do about that, we have to deal with it.”

The end of qualifying is for some the relief of making it through to the gold fleet, but for others is the agony of just missing out. Austria’s Valentin Bontus struck a semi-submerged water bottle that was anchored to the sea floor and crashed out of gold fleet by two places and four points. “It’s frustrating because it broke my foil, I couldn’t carry on. I guess it was something a fisherman put in the water, and it looks like I just missed out on making gold fleet because of it.” Such are the frustrations of high-speed foiling when things go wrong. “All part of the game.” is an oft-heard expression on days like today.

Friday sees the 150 riders re-organised into gold, silver and bronze. Starting 1315 hours local time the gold fleet racing will be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.

Results Men
1 SLO Toni Vodisek 6p
2 FRA Axel Mazella 6p
3 CYP Denis Taradin 12p

Results Women
1 USA Daniela Moroz 4p
2 FRA Lauriane Nolot 4p
3 GER Leonie Meyer 14p

For the full standings, please visit www.formulakite.org/2022worlds

Text Credits: Andy Rice
Photo Credits: IKA Media / Robert Hajduk

Website: www.sardiniagrandslam.com

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