After a poor performance in Sweden, Briton Williams sees his lead shrink by half

After a spectacular and highly competitive event last week in Marstrand at Match Cup Sweden, the race for points towards the World Championship has tightened on the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard. After four stages completed, Ian Williams (GBR) and his Team Pindar remain in the lead, but that lead has shrunk by half as new teams have arisen through the ranks to challenge the Tour regulars.

Sailing the highly-maneuverable DS 37’s in Marstrand in front of a crowd of over 150,000, an exceedingly-competitive field of 12 teams battled throughout last week for their share of the US$200,000 prize money. And those that fared well also won valuable points to advance in their standings, with 5 stages remaining in this year’s World Championship.

Sailing only his second Tour event this year, winner Mattias Rahm (SWE) and the Stena Bulk Racing Team nonetheless put on a superb performance, especially on the final day where he bounced back from being down 2-0 in the Semi-Finals to fellow Swede and former Victory Challenge team mate Magnus Holmberg. Not only did he win the next three to go on to the Finals, but he then won the next three against the Tour wunderkind Torvar Mirsky (AUS) in the Finals to take the top prize of $50,000 and pick up 25 points to move from 14th to fifth on the leaderboard.

Others who have advanced up the ladder include Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and his Alandia Sailing Team, from fourth to second; Mathieu Richard (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team, from fifth to tied for third; Magnus Holmberg, from tenth to eighth; and Peter Gilmour (AUS) and his Team PST’s fifth place finish has earned them their first ten points to make it into the standings at tied for 13th.

But the battle in Marstrand left some surprising victims in its wake, including Tour regulars and past stage winners who could not advance to the top-eight Quarter Final round. These include the reigning World Champion Williams, who missed the cut by one place, the winner at Match Cup Germany, Damien Iehl (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team, and Paolo Cian (ITA) and his Team Shosholoza, who could manage no better than 10th and 11th respectively amongst this tough field. And even though Williams still leads in points, Iehl and Cian have seen their standings on the leaderboard drop respectively from fifth to tenth and from second to sixth in points totals.

The battle will resume again at the next stage on the Tour, the Danish Open, held over 27-31 August at a new venue in Frederikshavn, Denmark.

Current Tour Top Ten:

1. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar – 47 points
2. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team – 40 points
3. Sébastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K Challenge – 37 points
=3. Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team – 37 points
5. Mattias Rahm (SWE), Stena Bulk Racing Team – 34 points
6. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza – 33 points
=6. Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team – 33 points
8. Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Victory Challenge – 27 points
9. Jes Gram Hansen (DEN) Trifork Racing Team – 26 points
10. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 25 points

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