Countdown to Challenge Julius Baer final begins

The grand finale of the Challenge Julius Baer season kicks off this weekend with the Grand Prix Corum and lively conditions are expected

This coming Saturday evening the winner of the 2010 Challenge Julius Baer will be crowned, however before this can happen the 12 D35 teams will fight for their positions in the fleet this weekend at the Grand Prix Corum, the eighth and final event of the championship season. The fleet is tightly ranked on points with everything to fight for!

It will not surprise competitors to learn that the occupants of this year's Challenge Julius Baer podium are already known to be Pascal Bidégorry (Banque Populaire), Alain Gautier (Foncia) and Ernesto Bertarelli (Alinghi). What is yet to be established is which step of the podium each competitor will claim! Having finished in the top three all season, Pascal Bidégorry's consistency has paid off and the Banque Populaire team is currently in first place. Alain Gautier's Foncia is just one point behind, but unlike Banque Populaire, Gautier has won events this season which would place him ahead of Bidégorry should they draw. Currently in third place, Ernesto Bertarelli's Alinghi team found its form during the second half of the season with multiple regatta wins. The team is a danger to Alain Gautier and the Foncia team, but not to Banque Populaire. The 2010 Championship is to be a French victory.

Erik Maris onboard Zoulou, is enjoying his first D35 season and is currently ranked fourth. The French team is not able to better its overall ranking and is being hunted down by its closest competitor, Nickel. The team from Nyon is enjoying its best season on record and, while currently lying in fifth place, it has everything to gain this weekend to take home the fourth place 'Chocolate medal'. Nickel, led by Fred Moura, has a five point lead over Nicolas Grange's Okalys-Corum, which is currently ranked sixth. Helmed by Loick Peyron, Okalys claimed the Geneve-Rolle-Geneve, one of the Lake classics, again this year; something of a habit for Nicolas Grange! Pierre-Yves Firmenich's Ylliam is lying in seventh place. His helmsman, Arnaud Psarofaghis, is the youngest in the fleet, but hasn't allowed himself to be intimidated one bit by the veterans of the circuit finishing third at the second event of the season. In eighth place and on equal points with Ylliam is Philippe Cardis' Julius Baer. Only one point from seventh place, Dona Bertarelli and her Ladycat team, are currently ranked ninth. This weekend will be critical for the pink multihull as it could jump two places up the leader board. Guy de Picciotto's Zen Too is lying in tenth place and with his closest rival seven points behind, he can afford to go on the offensive to try to better his position. Marco Simeoni's Veltigroup is in eleventh place, but is in a positive phase as the team finished fourth at the last event in La Reserve. Loic Forestier's Zebra 7 brings up the rear but, without pressure and racing on his home waters, he could impress his adversaries at this last event of the season.

To celebrate the end of this year's Challenge Julius Baer, Sunday 19 September is to be dedicated to exhibition regattas. The 12 D35s will be split into two teams: the Europeans versus the Swiss. Don't miss this or the GP Corum this weekend with racing due to start on the 17 September at 11:00.

For further information and results, please go to:

Grand Prix Corum programme of events

Friday 17 September
11:00 first possible start signal for a maximum of four races

Saturday 18 September
10:30 Public area opens
11:00 Start of official racing for the GP Corum
16:00 Last possible start for the GP Corum races and the Challenge Julius Baer
17:30 Prize giving for the GP Corum at the SNG followed by the presentation of the Challenge Julius Baer trophy
19:30 Official Grand Prix Corum party

Sunday 19 September
10:00 Public area opens
10:30 Start of the exhibition racing
16:00 End of the exhibition racing
16:30 Prize giving in the public area