Last Flight Heroics Decide Match Race Germany Quarter-Finalists

Bruni v Hansen, qualifying day 4. Photo:Chris Davies/WMRT
An epic make or break day at Match Race Germany saw Francesco Bruni top the scoreboard after the final flight of the final Qualifying Session while debut Tour Card Holder Johnie Berntsson and Bjorn Hansen were amongst the casualties to go home.
It was an intriguing conclusion to the Qualifying Sessions here which had been plagued by a lack of wind. Against a backdrop of lashing rain and a peak of 20 knot winds, Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing stamped his mark on Match Race Germany by beating Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team in the final flight of qualifying to earn his place direct to the Semi-Finals.
Neugodnikov v Meister qualyfying day 4. Photo: Chris Davies/WMRT
Just one defeat in the final Qualifying Session for Bruni and a solitary defeat for Iehl set up a thrilling last flight decider between the two. Both held two losses each to their names. After a smooth start from both teams, it was Bruni who won the first cross and he tacked to cover. Iehl did a great job of working to boat windward and as they got to the first mark Iehl luffed head to wind to shoot around it. However Bruni had more momentum which carried him around Iehl’s bow and allowed him to set his spinnaker first. The Italian never looked back after that, extending his lead to the finish and with it earning a bye-pass of the Quarter-finals. 
Neugodnikov v Meister qualyfying day 4. Photo: Chris Davies/WMRT
Commenting on that last race, Bruni said, “That was no easy match but we controlled it well from the start. Damien was under pressure and we got the right side of the start line which we wanted and had the boat speed to win the race. We feel great because Damien has been the best so far."
Looking ahead, Bruni had every reason to be optimistic: “We’re sailing well and I have a good feeling with the boat. She [Bavaria 40S] is very difficult to sail but I like heavy boats - they match my match racing style. We haven’t won a Qualifying Session on the World Match Racing Tour and if you can win one it’s best to win it here as you go straight through to the Semis. The crew worked hard today so tomorrow we will relax and see what the others are doing.”
For interviews and further analysis on the last Qualifying Session of Match Race Germany, go to www.wmrt.com

Standings After the Third Qualifying Session: Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing 9-2
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 8-3
Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners 8-3
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 7-4
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 7-4
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 6-5
Eugeney Neugodnikov (RUS) Team Synergy 6-5
Eric Monnin (SUI) Team Okalys Corum 5-6
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 4-7
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 4-7
William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing 2-9
Stefan Meister (GER) 0-11
Last Flight Heroics Decide Match Race Germany Quarter-Finalists Last Flight Heroics Decide Match Race Germany Quarter-Finalists Reviewed by Panos Douros on Saturday, May 28, 2011 Rating: 5

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