The Audi MedCup warm-up contest signals Mean Machine as the team to beat 3/6/08

After winning the opening regatta of the Audi MedCup Circuit in Alicante, today’s warm-up contest – raced in 8-10 knots of Southerly breeze – signalled a clear warning that Peter De Ridder’s Mean Machine team will be the crew to beat here.

Platoon powered by Team Germany, skippered by three times Olympic gold medallist Jochen Schuemann proved that their hard work in Valencia tuning their Rolf Vroijk designed boat, may reveal a dividend this week. They were quickest off the start line and made the best tactical call to lead the race all the way until the last 400 metres, but showed very good speed, especially downwind.

The maiden race outing for USA-17 saw Larry Ellison enjoy his first sail on the TP52. With Russell Coutts (NZL) and James Spithill (AUS) orchestrating the tactical decisions at the back of the boat, USA-17 was seventh at the first windward mark, four seconds behind sister-ship Artemis, and finished ninth.

While it was a gentle introduction for Ellison, Coutts and Co to their new boat and the rest of the 14 boat fleet, local forecasters and team navigators are predicting at least 20 knots of Mistral breeze for tomorrow’s opening races.

Racing starts today with the first of nine scheduled windward-leeward races.

Practice Race – Top ten finishers:
1. Mean Machine, MON
2. Platoon by Team Germany, GER
3. Mutua Madrilena, ESP
4. Matador, ARG
5. El Desafio, ESP
6. Quantum Racing, USA
7. Rusal Synergy, RUS
8. Artemis, SWE
9. USA-17, USA
10. CxG Caixa Galicia, ESP

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