Through a great display of consistency not yet seen in this year's racing, Jose María van der Ploeg's (ESP) Turismo Madrid (ESP) has taken the early lead after three races in today's Day One of the 2009 GP42 Global Championship. Led by tactician Philippe Presti (FRA), the team amassed a 2-1-4 scorecard to lead Filippo Farufini's runner-up Roma 2 (ITA), driven by Paolo Cian (ITA) by two points. This is the first event of the year that Madrid has taken the lead after a day of racing.
After a morning spent recovering from the previous evening’s performances and gracious hospitality extended by the organizers at the stunning Jameos del Agua, the day’s racing started on time at Noon in a very light 6-knot east-southeast breeze. Principal Race Officer, Peter “Luigi” Reggio, laid a modest four-lap 5-mile course in the hopes the breeze would fill to the predicted 7-11 knots.
Trouble started right off the start, as John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) and Javier Goizueta’s Caser-Endesa (ESP) did penalty turn, and Bassadone ignored an OCS call to return to restart. The boats that then went left towards the beach to stay out of the current came out ahead, but as the breeze died to as little as 4 knots on the final run it was Goncalo Esteves’ (POR) Quebramar – Xacobeo 2010 (POR) that repeated what they did to win in yesterday’s practice race: get ahead and extend.
This all changed in Race 2, however, as after a brief delay awaiting for something more solid a very steady easterly managed to fill to 8 and building to 10 knots by the finish. Here the more experienced teams started to shine, with the five Audi MedCup alumnists ending up taking the top five places in this race. It all started when the four black boats in the fleet - Turismo Madrid (ESP), Roma (ITA), Roberto Monti’s (ITA) Airis (ITA), and Peninsula Petroleum – all split left while the remainder of the class split right. Turismo Madrid led the left group across the right group before converging on the top mark, and never looked back despite a strong challenge made by Roma.
With a building breeze on the horizon, Reggio extended the first leg length to 1.4 miles, and just as in the previous race the start was dominated by those that were able to get and stay left. Roma led the charge off the pin end at the start and led the pack back to the right off the shoreline towards the first top mark. With the breeze building now to 14 knots and shifting 15 degrees left, Reggio shifted and lengthened the next lap to give these carbon-fibre speedsters some room to run as their speeds were climbing well up and over 10 knots offwind. Local favorites Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) got left first out of the bottom gate, allowing them to take the lead while Roma, Caser-Endesa, and Turismo Madrid remained tangled up just metres behind the leader in scenes reminiscent of the year’s previous battles for control in the MedCup.
To the delight of the assembled spectator fleet, the local Canarias team managed to hold off the pack and take their first win, a good recovery from their mediocre 5-5 start to the series.
“Today's races have been completely diferent one from the other, and difficult," said José María van der Ploeg. "I think the key was at the starts. We've been training on that since Cartagena because I think that has been one of our weak points throughout the season, and we are doing it better every time. Philippe has done a great job, he's chosen the right sides. The attitude of the whole crew has been very competitive, and we've done some risky moves and handlings but have won two races. In the last one we could have been second instead of fourth, but Caser and Roma got a puff on the last leg to pass us."
Windward-leeward course racing will resume tomorrow, with another three races planned in a 12-race series starting at 1200 local time.
Puerto Calero GP42 Global Cup
1. Turismo Madrid (ESP, José María van der Ploeg), 2+1+4= 7 points
2. Roma (ITA, Paolo Cian), 4+2+3= 9 points
3. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP, José María Ponce), 5+5+1= 11 points
4. Airis (ITA, Roberto Monti), 3+3+6= 12 points
5. Quebramar (POR, Felipe Regojo), 1+7+5= 13 points