London- With five skippers still in with a chance of winning the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) as the series heads for the final event of the season at the Monsoon Cup, WMRT has drawn comparisons to the recent grandstand finish in Formula 1 which saw four drivers go into the final Grand Prix of the year with a shot at winning the title.
Just as F1 had a sting in its tail with Vettel, who went into the last race in third place, snatching the title, WMRT is being tipped to have an equally dramatic climax at the Monsoon Cup, which is being held at the five-star Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa in Kuala Terengganu from 30 November to 5 December.
Matthieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team will go into the final event of the year with a 15 point lead over defending Champion Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing while Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN is just two points further back. Australia’s Torvar Mirsky, Mirsky Racing Team and two-time World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar are also still in with an outside chance.
Sailing pundit Mark Chisnell, who has watched the action unfold throughout the season, has called into question championship leader Matthieu Richard’s preparation saying: “I was interested to see that he’s chosen to race in Perth just before the Monsoon Cup. Mathieu is very methodical in his preparation, and I’m sure he’s got a plan, but this year his worst results have come in events that followed closely one after another – not a particularly good omen for him.”
While Chisnell believes the race is too close to call between Richard, Minoprio and Ainslie, he has all but written off the chances of Williams and Mirsky adding, “Even if I was a betting man, I wouldn’t put a pound on it, it’s just too close. I’d only say that it will be Richard, Minoprio or Ainslie – too much has to go the way of Mirsky or Williams for them to come from behind and take it. But after that, it’s wide open.”
Chisnell has also warned of the impact the rest of the field will have in deciding the outcome. With all the skippers having to take part in the Qualifying Round Robin to win their place in the knock out stages no-one is guaranteed a place in the final.
Alluding to the importance of the rest of the teams, Chisnell said, “They could have a huge impact – last year, it was decided when Peter Gilmour beat Torvar Mirsky in the quarter-finals. Gilly couldn’t overhaul Minoprio to win it by then, but instead, he stopped the man who could.”
With so many permutations and possible final results still to be decided, the following table gives a simple overview of who needs to do what to become the new ISAF Match Racing World Champion:
Richard wins the title if he:
• Comes 1st or 2nd
• Comes 3rd - as long as Minoprio doesn’t win
• Comes 4th or 5th - as long as neither Minoprio or Ainslie win
• Comes 6th or 7th - as long as neither Minoprio or Ainslie are in the final
• Comes 8th - as long as Minoprio doesn’t come in the top three and Ainslie doesn’t come in the top 2
Minoprio wins the title if he:
• Comes 1st - as long as Richard doesn’t come in the top 3
• Comes 2nd - as long as Richard doesn’t come in the top 5 and Ainslie doesn’t win
• Comes 3rd - as long as Richard comes 8th or lower, Ainslie comes 4th or lower, and Mirsky doesn’t win
• Comes 4th - as long as Richard doesn’t come in the top 8, Ainslie doesn’t come in the top 4, and neither Williams or Mirsky win
Ainslie wins the title if he:
• Comes 1st - as long as Richard doesn’t come in the top 3.
• Comes 2nd - as long as Minoprio doesn’t win, and Richard doesn’t come in the top 5.
• Comes 3rd - as long as Mirsky doesn’t win, Minoprio doesn’t come in the top 3, and Richard doesn’t score any points
• Comes 4th - as long as Richard doesn’t score, Minoprio doesn’t come in the top 4, and neither Williams or Mirsky win
Mirsky wins the title if he:
• Wins the Monsoon Cup - as long as neither Ainslie nor Minoprio come in the top 2, and Richard doesn’t finish higher than 8th
Williams wins the title if he:
• Wins the Monsoon Cup, as long as neither Ainslie nor Minoprio finish on the podium and Richard finishes outside the top 8