After winning on this track for the second year in a row Quantum Racing could be justified in claiming ownership of one of the most spectacular race tracks there is on the Audi MedCup Circuit, the 36 miles circuit down along spectacular calanques limestone cliffs to Cassis and back.
Carrying a 1.5 points bounty the win their third of the Marseille Trophy so far, gives the 2008 Audi MedCup champions a lead of 4.5 points over Matador who stole third in the closing stages of a spectacular, exciting coastal race.
It was pure, distilled, classic Marseille. Winds peaked at nearly 25 knots with big seas to ride on the 10 miles downwind leg to the turning mark off Cassis, the scenic little town which lies in a quiet bay cut from the towering cliffs. On the downwind leg the sustained surfing action was quite simply as good as it gets, and on the return leg along the base of the cliffs, it is fantastic, powerful upwind sailing in flatter water.
The Quantum Racing team sailed an impeccable race.
The pressure was added at the start with the TP52 fleet knowing that there might be few big tactical opportunities after leaving the bay of Marseille. It was another pin sharp start from the Quantum Racing afterguard which allowed them to track left early with Emirates Team New Zealand. The Kiwis lead around the windward mark with Quantum Racing on their tails but on the first run Emirates Team New Zealand gybed early and the American team were able to get around the leeward gate first.
From there Quantum Racing were never really challenged.
Jochen Schuemann, Sebastien Col and the Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE were probably the quickest on the water today and had overhauled the Kiwi team, but just after half way back up the long beat home, the Franco-German team lost their jib.
They had to send a man up the mast quickly to retrieve the halyard and that lost them ground to the current champions. Audi A1 took third place across the finish, whilst Matador’s never say die spirit was rewarded when they managed to grab fourth on the finish line.
It was a muscular day which exposed any small imperfections in crew work, or equipment. Britain’s TeamOrigin 1851 had some of their good work on Thursday undone when their jib slipped down on the first beat when they were dicing for second place, they fought back but could only make sixth.
But the most unfortunate team were Bribon who lost their forestay strop and had to nurse their boat to the finish under mainsail only.
Madrid-Caser Seguros tightens the race
In a stunning reversal of yesterday’s mediocre results, Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP) found their form in today’s wavy, breezy conditions to post an impressive 2-1-1 in the GP42’s three races. This result has vaulted them from last to runner-up in the standings, and tightened the race in the GP42 Series. Helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA) and his team led by tactician Jose Maria van der Ploeg (ESP) were fast, smart and error-free from start to finish today, bested only by AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA) in the first race. The win in Race 3 by owner/helmsman Roberto Monti (ITA) and his team was their first of the 2010 season.
These big-breeze conditions in the past have usually favored both Madrid-Caser Seguros and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), being the latest-generation Botin & Carkeek designs, but the Felci-designed AIRISESSENTIAL and the slightly older generation B&C-designed Iberdrola (ESP) managed to hang on turn in their share of good results, with Iberdrola maintaining a slim 2-point lead in the class.
Another older B&C design, Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), also showed great promise in the breeze by being among the leaders in the first mark rounding, but a loud crack heard shortly after rounding indicated the masthead crane breaking. The accident is particularly heartbreaking for the team, led by owner/helmsman John Bassadone (GBR) and tactician Inaki Castaner (ESP), since the very same break occurred for them on the final day of racing in the last Audi MedCup stage in Portugal. The team will be unable to affect repairs in time to re-join the series at this stage, especially with the strong Mistral forecast for tomorrow.
Ashore the Audi MedCup Public Village has proved a popular visitor attraction on the bustling Vieux Port promenade. As well as sailor interviews at the dock out and dock in, the day's winners Quantum Racing took to the stage for the public weigh in.
Overall – Day 3
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 8+1+1+5+6+1,5= 22,5 points
2. Matador (ARG), 3+3+4+1+10+6= 27
3. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 2+9+2+10+2+4,5= 29,5
4. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 10+6+5+4+3+3= 31
5. TeamOrigin (GBR), 4+7+7+3+1+9= 31
6. Synergy (RUS), 9+2+6+7+4+7,5= 35,5
7. Bribón (ESP), 1+8+8+2+7+15= 41
8. Cristabella (GBR), 6+4+3+8+9+13,5= 43,5
9. Luna Rossa (ITA), 5+5+10+9+5+10,5= 44,5
10. Artemis (SWE), 7+11(RAF)+9+6+8+12= 53
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)+18(DNC)= 78
Overall – Day 2
1. Iberdrola (ESP), 1+1+3+2+3= 10 points
2. Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP), 4+4+2+1+1= 12
3. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 5+2+1+3+4= 15
4. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 2+5+4+4+2= 17
5. Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), 3+3+6(DNF)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)= 24