At the start of the event we were promised storm force winds and today that’s exactly what Hvide Sande, Denmark, offered as savage gusts in excess of 50 knots and driving rain provided a scintillating day of racing.
Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) came into today knowing she needed to outperform Sarah-Quita Offringa’s (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) and that’s exactly what she did to keep the event title alive. Meanwhile, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) dominated again to take a stranglehold of the event.
Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) produced her best performance of the season so far – in the most extreme conditions – to reduce Sarah-Quita Offringa’s (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) event lead to 0.7 of a point after brilliantly winning both eliminations today, which keeps her event and world title hopes alive. In order to win the title, Cousin must win here and she has given herself every chance of doing just that after today. Her performance in the second winners’ final was particularly impressive as she flew down the penultimate straight to overtake Offringa and secure back-to-back bullets.
Offringa is still in control of her own fate, but now faces a tense final day with Cousin Questel within striking distance. In the event that one more race was to be completed, then put simply, if Offringa beats Cousin Questel in the next race then she will be the event and world champion, but if her French rival can summon up one more victory it would take the title race into the final event of the season in New Caledonia. However, if there is more than one women’s race tomorrow then virtually anything can happen.
Meanwhile, Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) enjoyed a better day than yesterday with a 3rd and 4th place, but things may have been slightly better as she could’ve also finished 3rd in the first race if she had managed to hold onto her last gybe in the nuking conditions. That let Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails) through to claim third and the 25-year-old is now just 1.3 points behind Erdil now and has every chance of making the podium if it’s possible to complete more racing.
Antoine Albeau’s (RRD / NeilPryde) purple patch continued today as the 23-time world champion reeled off another 2 bullets – meaning he has now won the last 4 races to take control of the event. On the opening day Albeau said he hoped for strong winds so that he would have the chance to jump on his small board and sails and today he showed why as he continued his dominance and it’s hard to see him relinquishing the advantage he holds heading into the final day – 3.6 point lead.
For the first time in the event – Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses) – loses the event lead. The reigning world champion finished 2nd in the opening race, but then crashed in the second winners’ final of the day when in the top 4 to eventually finish 7th. The Italian instantly discards that result, but with Albeau’s hot run of form, it’s not enough to maintain his place at the top of the event rankings.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses) started the day in 4th but has now cemented his place in the top 3 after another solid day, which saw the Brit record two, 4th’s. However, things could’ve been even better for him as he was leading the opening final, but then due to the poor visibility he started sailing towards the wrong mark, which cost him the opportunity of earning a bullet. Williams remains on course to record back-to-back podiums, which could see him break into the overall top 3 with Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) not firing on all cylinders again as the Frenchman recorded a solid 3rd, before a slightly disappointing 12th.
Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) falls one place to 4th, while Mortefon and Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) remain in 5th and 6th respectively. Quentel looked as though he was going to win the 6th Elimination only to see Antoine Albeau produce a stunning comeback with a phenomenal burst of speed.
Elsewhere, Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Chopper Fins) rises two places to 7th, while Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) remains in 8th. Fellow countryman – Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Loft Sails / Chopper Fins) breaks into the top 10 for the first time this event – 9th – while Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) completes the top 10.
Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails) and Marco Lang (Fanatic / NorthSails) will both be desperate to complete the 7th race – which would bring the second discard into play – to give them the opportunity to re-establish themselves in the top 10.
After a disappointing run of results – Ben van der Steen (Patrik / Gun Sails) – found his form in the strong winds to finish 3rd in Elimination 6, but any hopes of staging a late comeback were ended by a quarterfinal exit in Elimination 7.The skippers’ meeting has been called for 11am tomorrow morning with the action commencing from 11:30am (GMT+2) onwards. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow all of the racing live.
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Current Ranking 2017 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup – Women’s Slalom
*After Six Eliminations
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
3rd Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360)
4th Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails)
5th Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loft Sails)
Current Ranking 2017 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup – Men’s Slalom
*After Six Eliminations
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses)
3rd Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses)
4th Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde)
5th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
6th Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti)
7th Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Chopper Fins)
8th Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
9th Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Loft Sails / Chopper Fins)
10th Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde)