Photo © Chris Davies / World Match Racing Tour
After his thrilling Final victory against current World Champion, Ian Williams at the Korea Match Cup, Bjorn Hansen sits at the top of the leaderboard ahead of the third event of the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, the STENA Match Cup Sweden, July 2 – 7.
Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team leads ahead of young Frenchman Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team, who is level on 31 points after two good results but is yet to win an event. Sweden’s top match racer has jumped from 4th to a career-best 2nd place in the ISAF Match Racing World Rankings for June and will now go to his home event in Marstrand with an opportunity to put some distance between himself and the chasing pack. He said: “We’re very confident after a good result in Korea and with the support of our Swedish fans, and a really good week of sailing by our Mekonomen Sailing Team, we can continue a good start to the 2012 season.
“Stena Match Cup Sweden is an event we all love. We love the boats, we love the atmosphere and the magnitude of the local interest is fantastic. It is obvious that the other teams on the Tour also enjoy the regatta as we’ll have all nine Tour Card Holders competing in Marstrand.”
Despite the home advantage, STENA Match Cup Sweden has had mixed fortunes for Hansen’s Mekonomen Sailing Team, a 2nd in 2011 and sole victory in 2007 the highlights at an event which he first attended in 1999. Hansen, however, believes that this season the team are ready to go one better and prove to the home fans that his team are still number one in Sweden as well as a realistic title challenger for the Tour title this season: “We can definitely put some pressure on the other teams chasing top spot on the Tour leaderboard with a good result in Sweden. If we go into the second half of the season still amongst it, I think we can have the focus and attitude to mount a challenge for the title.”
After the STENA Match Cup Sweden, Hansen’s Mekonomen Sailing Team will fly to USA for the Chicago Match Cup (10 -15 July), the fourth event of the year and a new addition to the calendar. With four of the team’s five allocated point-scoring events completed after Chicago, which will contribute to their combined total ahead of the Monsoon Cup, it is a matter of weeks before Bjorn Hansen will know how close he can get to realising his season’s objectives.
Follow the action with race highlights packages available online throughout both events. To watch, visit new.livestream.com/WorldMRT
Overall Championship Standings: (after 2 stages)
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team - 31pts
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team – 31pts
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar - 28pts
Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match – 27pts
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 26pts
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 24pts
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Team Korea - 20pts
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team – 19pts