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52 Super Series Valencia Sailing Week - Day 4

by 52 Super Series 21 Sep 20:25 BST 21 September 2018
52 Super Series Valencia Sailing Week day 4 © Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

After one of the most exciting, roller coaster three-race days in the history of the 52 SUPER SERIES, there is just two points separating the top three teams going into the final day of the season at the 52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Sailing Week.

Italian America's Cup team Luna Rossa staged a remarkable comeback from 11th to finish, second in the third race of the day and so resuscitate their chances of their chances of a second regatta win of the season. They lead the new 2018 52 SUPER SERIES champions Quantum Racing by one point and Platoon by two points in a down-to-the-wire tussle for the last remaining regatta title of the season.

As the third race of the day was completed, Quantum Racing passed the point at which they can no longer be beaten to the 2018 title. The new champions will be crowned at a glittering prize giving on Saturday night, but the hard-driving team are focused on closing out their fourth regatta title of the season. That much was apparent when they returned to the dock in the Marina de Valencia where the champagne remains on ice until the last races of the season are completed.

Ian Moore, Quantum Racing said: "It is down to the wire, but it went right to the plan. We wanted to go into the final day with a chance of being on the podium, and it could not be any tighter. Three points between the top four boats and so it is all on. We sailed well but it was a really tricky course. You could only stick with your plan. Luna Rossa did an amazing job. We have achieved our goals, winning the circuit title and the world title this season. We are all very pleased."

In the light sea breezes on the America's Cup race tracks it was incredibly hard to maintain a consistent scoreline, especially for the teams under the most pressure to seal podium places for the season. Azzzura, who started the day in second on the season standings, won the second race of the day but bookended their win with an eighth and a ninth. Harm Müller-Spreer's Platoon were penalised on the approach to the windward mark in the second race of the day to drop to a seventh. And then that error was duplicated by Luna Rossa, in almost exactly the same spot, the first windward mark approach of the third race. But they had doubled their woes when they then fouled Paprec whilst doing their turns to round the leeward gate 11th.

As befits the 2018 champions who will add to their 2013, 2014 and 2016 championships, the one real constant today was Quantum Racing. They maybe appeared to struggle to get to grips with the wispy, streaky sea breeze, but when the pressure was on to at least mount the podium of the last regatta of the season, they won the first race, took fourth in the second, and then third in the final contest, so rising from sixth to second.

So the final day of the 2018 season will once more see the second and third steps on the championship podium decided on the last races, Platoon and Azzurra now tied on 197 points with Luna Rossa still contenders on 203 points.

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Regatta standings after day 4:

1. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (6,1,1,3,4,6,8,2) 31 p. 2. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (8,2,6,6,2,1,4,3) 32 p. 3. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,4,4,8,1,3,7,5) 33 p.? 4. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto & Pablo Roemmers) (2,3,3,5,7,8,1,9) 38 p. 5. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,5,5,4,5,7,10,6) 46 p. 6. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (10,8,2,1,3,11,5,8) 48 p.? 7. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (5,10,8,10,6,5,3,1) 48 p. 8. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (9,11+ 2 penalti,7,2,9,4,6,4) 54 p. 9. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (3,6,9,12RET+2 penalti, 11,2,2,11) 58 p. 10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (7,9,11,7,10,9,9,7) 69 p.? 11. Paprec (FRA) (Jean Luc Petithuguenin) (11,7,10,9,8,10,11,10) 76 p.

Quotes from the sailors

Santiago Lange (ARG) Azzurra (ARG/ITA): "Tomorrow we just need to race well. I think all the boats are close enough, especially Platoon and Luna Rossa, that we just need to sail well, and then along the race we can figure it out. But with two races that can happen tomorrow its a lot of points, and in this fleet you cant dare to be covering. ?Today, I like to race, and I never look at the points. Now, yes, because tomorrow is the last day and we have to look ahead and sail well. Obviously I looked at the points this week, you take your risks and rewards, but its difficult to sail against two boats that are so good as well as the whole fleet so you get in trouble if you start thinking about it too much."

John Kostecki (USA) Platoon (GER): "Great racing out there today, three races, light air, so a lot of changes and changing places, so it was pretty exciting racing. I haven't really looked at the points yet but I've heard because a lot of people are telling me that we're tied on points for second (with Azzurra) and Luna Rossa is pretty close behind as well (for the overall season), so it's going to be an exciting day tomorrow! I don't know yet what the strategy is for tomorrow, we're still decompressing and need to debrief today. Tomorrow is a different day and I know it's a different weather scenario tomorrow, we've been having these Southeasterlies and tomorrow will be more Northeast, so it'll be a different type of day, so we'll see!"

Guillermo Parada, Azzurra: "We aren't all that happy with our results even though we won the second race. The third race was the hardest because we missed a chance to stay ahead of our two closest rivals and didn't manage to hang on to the small lead that we had. We're tied for points and tomorrow is the day that's going to decide everything. Right now we have to rest and celebrate: it's Mamu Caputo, our bowman's, fiftieth birthday. But tomorrow we want to sail well and close this season on a positive note."

Santiago Lange, Azzurra: "I think all the boats are close to us so we need to sail well. There are still two races to run tomorrow and in this fleet that could mean a lot of points. I like to race, and I face things day by day without sailing defensively. If we sail well we'll be ok, we don't need to look at two teams, we just have to sail our best."

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