Catalunya PWA World Cup - Day 6 - A day to remember for Matteo Iachino as Italian maestro tastes the victory for first time - Antoine Albeau responds in true champion fashion
An overcast start to the final day of the Catalunya PWA World Cup threw doubt into whether any racing would be completed. However, as the morning progressed the sun started to emerge from behind the clouds and the sea breeze started to slowly kick in and although the wind remained on the marginal side - meaning racing was tough on the sailors - a further two eliminations were completed.
A Tale of Two Sailors
Arnon Daganís (RRD / NeilPryde) prayers for no wind were not answered on this occasion meaning a second event title will have to wait, but whilst one set of prayers were not answered the wind Godís responded to a separate set of prayers. At the start of the day Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) sat in second place and mustíve been desperate for suitable conditions to give him a shot at a maiden event victory. Thankfully, for the Italian thatís exactly what happened as the wind filled in and he thrived under the pressure to assert himself at the top of the rankings after clinically clinching victory in the second elimination.
At this point the Italian may have been forgiven for thinking that he had the win in the bag, but with time still left in the day it was soon announced that another elimination would be held. To Iachinoís credit he responded in the perfect fashion as he effortlessly navigated his way into the winnersí final - seemingly unnerved by the prospect of tasting victory for the first time. Once in the final the pressure was effectively off, but Iachino may not have been aware of the math securing his place at the top - either way he maintained his professionalism to take home an excellent fourth place. Elimination four was started but with the wind becoming more fickle the racing was soon abandoned and the Italian could finally bask in his well deserved glory
Matteo Iachino reflects on maiden victory and remembers the late and great Alberto Menegatti:
ďItís an unbelievable result - I canít believe it. The racing itself was tough with the gusty conditions making timing the start difficult. In the final I took advantage of a small gybing mistake by Malte Reuscher and from there I managed to hold onto the lead. Afterwards a new race was announced and my stress levels were super high. I went for it again and everything went well - finishing fourth - on the way back to the beach I was counting and thought that maybe I had a chance of winning, so I couldn't believe it when it was real. It was really nice to win and the whole time I was also thinking about Alberto. I just want to take the opportunity now to thank Alberto because without him I wouldíve never believed that I could be where I am right now. Basically itís thank to him that I am here - heís the one that made me start to believe that my dream could come true. Thanks, Alby.Ē
After race two had been completed Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) sent out a warning signal to the rest of his rivals that he is still a serious contender for the world title. The Frenchman was unlucky in the opening race - suffering a problem with his harness line which resulted in a quarterfinal exit - however, with the bit between his teeth and the determination to keep himself within touching distance of the leading pack - Mortefon dug dip to reel off an emphatic victory in race three over his closest contenders Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) and Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic), who finished second and third respectively.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) was the only other sailor to qualify for every winnersí final besides eventual champion Matteo Iachino. The Brit continued his fine early season form from Korea and is now prominently poised in the rankings after a fourth and superb second place overall here in Costa Brava.
Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) enjoyed a fine second elimination as he booked his place in the winnersí final - before demonstrating his textbook gybes to earn third place, which is his best performance of the year thus far in an elimination.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) escaped from an early exit in race two to battle back in true champion style. The reigning world champion finished the final elimination of the week in fifth place, which when combined with the mixed bag of results from some of the worldís top racers, resulted in Albeau claiming the final place on the prestigious podium, whilst taking a strangle hold at the top of the overall rankings.
Other standout performances include Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic), Adriaan van Rijsselberghe (Starboard / NeilPryde), Nicolas Warembourg (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic) and the youthful talents of Nicolas Goyard (RRD / Loft Sails) and Nicolas Prien (Fanatic / North). However, their performances will be discussed in greater depth in the event summary as today belongs to Matteo Iachino.
The closing ceremony was held at 7pm and after Matteo Iachino was officially crowned the King of Costa Brava he was given the appropriate christening as his fellow competitors and friends threw him into the swimming pool. The slalom fleet will now return to action at the end of July.
Overall Results Catalunya PWA World Cup - Menís Slalom
1st Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North)
2nd Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic)
3rd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
4th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North)
5th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne)
6th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
7th Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic)
8th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails)
10th Adriaan van Rijsselberge (Starboard / NeilPryde)
Photo : John Carter/pwaworldtour.com