When racing starts at the Camper Regatta - Conde de Godó Trophy - Barcelona in one week’s time off the historic city of Barcelona, the Audi MedCup champions the competition in the TP52 Series and the GP42 Series fleets will be hotter than ever.
Summer heat in the Catalan capital will only add to the intensity, but when Marseille last month proved that the Kiwi Audi MedCup champions Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) have a definite fight on their hands when 2008 title winners Quantum Racing (USA) won the Marseille Trophy.
The New Zealand team go to Barcelona with a lead of 18.5 points knowing not only that Quantum Racing have regained their winning ways, triumphing overall for the first time since 2008, but also that four times Olympic medallist Jochen Schuemann (GER) and Sébastien Col (FRA) have been very consistent across the first two regattas with their crew. Their Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER) are the only TP52 team to have finished on the podium in both Cascais and in Marseille. Schuemann is confident that they can maintain that regular momentum.
With Pedro Mendonça’s (POR) Bigamist (POR) rejoining the Circuit in Barcelona, the TP52 Series fleet is back up to an 11 boats complement. Eight teams have won at least one race this season so far and five different teams have finished on the podium. One team which finished on the podium in Cascais finished 10th in Marseille. It is that close.
On Quantum Racing, Adrian Stead (GBR) returns as tactician, Paul Cayard (USA) is billed as helm for Artemis (SWE), gold medallist Andrew Simpson (GBR) is back as strategist on TeamOrigin (GBR), and Luna Rossa (ITA) will be sailed by an entirely Italian crew with Gabriele Benussi (ITA) registered as tactician for Barcelona.
The official practice race takes place on Tuesday for the TP52’s, series racing begins on the Wednesday with the coastal race on Friday. For the GP42 Series, the practice race is scheduled for Wednesday, and the first race for Thursday. Both Series race until Sunday.
The Series tightens in the GP42’s
Since the Stage 2 victory of Iberdrola (ESP) in Marseille and the fewer races held there due to the strong winds, the points totals have tightened up considerably in the GP42 Series. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) maintains a 4-point lead over the pack, but Iberdrola and Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP) lurk only a few points back, ready to take the lead if the 2009 GP42 Series champions led by skipper Jose María Ponce (ESP) slips up in Barcelona.
The two owner-driven boats, AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA) and Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), are fairly distant in points behind the Spanish teams, but there are many races left in this Series. AIRISESSENTIAL will have their regular tactician Gabriele Bruni (ITA) back on their team.
All of the action supported by interviews, opinion and commentary is broadcast every day from 1250hrs on www.medcup.org starting on Wednesday, July 21.
Jochen Schuemann (GER), skipper Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER):
“I am sure that Barcelona will be challenging. With this high pressure and heat over Europe then it might be that winds are light, but what we have seen at the events so far is that the standard is higher than ever, that all ten or 11 boats are competitive, and it is easy to have a third in one race and a 10th in the next.”
Ray Davies (NZL), tactician Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
“I think that though not many of us have experience of Barcelona in many respects the conditions can be not dissimilar to what we get off Valencia at this time of year, but for sure it will be lighter than we have seen this season. We know that after Marseille we have to be sailing the boat better and have been working hard to get more performance from the boat, especially how we sail in lighter winds and looking at the sail programme, and we feel we have been successful in that.”
Gonzalo Araujo (ESP), helmsman Bribón (ESP):
“At this time of year the race area in Barcelona tends to be light in terms of wind, although it will depend on the intensity of the Garbi. Our boat is good in the light breeze, but whatever the situation we will face this event as we do all regattas: doing the best possible start and giving it our best throughout the race.”
Iñaki Castañer (ESP), tactician Península Petroleum (GBR):
“After breaking the boat when we were racing at a great level in Marseille, we are looking forward to having a good fight in Barcelona.”