Ainslie and Williams won all three of their races, but all eyes were on Frenchman Iehl who has enjoyed a run of five successive victories
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team was the aggressor on day two of The St. Moritz Match Race in Switzerland, storming through a run of five successive victories including a comprehensive defeat of the reigning ‘King of the Mountain’, Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing.
If the spectators expected the relative newcomer to the ISAF World Match Racing Tour to be apprehensive after a disappointing opening day, he did not show it. As the thermally-induced Maloja wind rushed in, the young Frenchman exhibited some deft moves on the water, leading Minoprio around mark one by three lengths and eventually extending his lead all the way to the finish.
His next fight was against another tough opponent, Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, currently ranked second in the Tour. The two skippers jostled and jabbed to gain the upper hand at the start with only inches separating them. This was toe-to-toe action. Mirsky gained the initial advantage, but Iehl read the subtleties of the wind to perfection, building what proved to be an insurmountable 10-length lead at the first mark.
With two victories under his belt Iehl looked unstoppable, which he was against opponent number three – triple Olympian and America’s Cup sailor Francesco Bruni (ITA) AZZURRA. At the start the French team gained the favourable lee bow position and led the accomplished Italian round all three laps of the course. Iehl, commented: “We had a clear game plan today which gave us the great starts we needed, as well as a strategy that delivered the best course through all the wind shifts. Our teamwork and manoeuvres were spot on too – it was a perfect progression for us from yesterday.”
A classic French – British dogfight is developing between the front runners and if anyone is going to put a counter-attack together on Iehl, there’s a strong chance it will come from Ian Wiiliams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar who leads the standings overnight, having won all three of his races today.
Triple Olympic gold medalist and America’s Cup skipper, Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN also demonstrated total dominance of his opponents with a clean sweep of victories, as did Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team.
With seven teams advancing to the next stage, three are confirmed as having made the quarter finals, but another six are still in the hunt for the remaining four places.
Results after Day Two:
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar: 7-1
Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN: 6-2
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team: 6-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing: 5-3
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team: 5-4
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Global Team: 5-4
Bertrand Pace (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team: 5-4
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team: 4-4
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra: 4-4
Eric Monnin (SUI) Swiss Match Racing Team: 2-7
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team: 2-7
Jérôme Clerc (SUI) CER: 0-8