2008 champions win the practice race in Portugal, proving they're not to be written off

Slightly modified expectations, a more relaxed attitude and sheer hard work may have combined to allow Audi MedCup champions Quantum Racing (USA) to bounce back after their disappointing seventh place finish last month in Cagliari, Sardinia.

Last year’s winning team are back on Atlantic waters where they clinched the overall 2008 title, and on the evidence of yesterday’s practice race, which they won handily – nearly one minute ahead of circuit leaders Emirates Team New Zealand – they should not be written off.

Racing in an unsettled light breeze of 7-10 knots, Quantum Racing started well off the committee boat end of the start line allowing them to break early to the right side of the track and gain the benefit as the wind clocked slightly to the right.

A good first run from Emirates Team New Zealand elevated them to second which they held to the finish. 

Aboard Spain’s Bribon, Britain’s double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson (pictured), guested for today on the helm, combining with fellow double medallists Thierry Pepponnet (FRA) and Ross McDonald (CAN), to take fourth place.

Robertson, who is no stranger to TP52’s after steering Eamon Conneely’s Copa del Rey winning Patches in the formative seasons of that programme, is visiting the Audi MedCup Circuit in her role as presenter of CNN’s Mainsail programme.

Emirates Team New Zealand’s second place today once more underlined their potency in the light conditions after working the left side of the course upwind on the first leg. Tactician Ray Davies (NZL) repeated that their strategy this week will be simply to ‘survive this regatta in good shape’ and to ‘keep our high averages up.’ The Kiwi team lead overall Audi MedCup Circuit TP52 Series by 32.5 points.

Portugal Trophy, 
Practice Race:

1 Quantum Racing (USA)
2 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

3 Matador (ARG)

4 Bribon (ESP)

5 Synergy (RUS)

Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Overall (3 events):

1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 38, 27.5, 28 = 93.5 points

2. Matador (ARG) 36, 47.5, 42.5 = 126

3. Quantum Racing (USA) 40, 41.5, 65 = 146.5
4. Artemis (SWE) 37, 62.5, 49.5 = 149
5. Bigamist (POR) 46, 55.5, 57 = 158.5

For more information, visit medcup.org