Florian Gruber (GER, UC/Ozone) and Riccardo Leccese (ITA, ML/Ozone) top the leaderboard at the 2014 Formula Kite World Championships at Burc Beach, Istanbul/Turkey. In the womens fleet it is a neck-on-neck battle between Steph Bridge (GBR, North), Elena Kalinina (RUS, TMV/ELF) and Erika Heineken (USA, ML/Ozone).
The first day of competition kicked off in challenging conditions with 18-20 knots of wind and heavy swell left over from yesterdays storm. The race committee set up a new 2/3rd's course with a longer first beat and two shorter laps to allow for tactical opportunities. A long reach to the finish line right in front of the beach with high speeds and spectacular crashed pleased both spectators and media representatives.
Gruber and Leccese dominated their respective flights with three bullets each. 17 year old European Champion Oliver Bridge (GBR,North) gave Leccese a run for his money in the green flight, with several lead changes in every race and a solid 2-2-2-1 result in the end. Alejandro Climent (ESP, UC/Ozone) and Blazej Ozog (POL, North) both showed a consistend performance to complete the top five.
The strong womens fleet saw a battle between Bridge, Kalinina and defending world champion Heineken with three different winners in four races, with Aga Grzymska (POL, ML/Ozone) showing a consistant performance for fourth place and 16 year old runner-up Anastasia Akopova (RUS, ML/Ozone) coming in fifth position.
Racing continues tomorrow with qualifying races for the two-flight mens fleet and the single openng series for the womens fleet. The forecast looks a bit lighter than todays tough conditions, with increasing winds towards the medal series races on saturday.
Overall standings after 4 races:
1. Florian Gruber (GER, UC/Ozone) - 5 pts
1. Riccardo Leccese (ITA, ML/Ozone) - 5 pts
3. Oliver Bridge (GBR, North) - 7 pts
4. Alejandro Climent (ESP, UC/Ozone) - 11 pts
5. Blazej Ozog (POL, North) - 13 pts
1. Steph Bridge (GBR, North) - 7 pts
2. Elena Kalinina (RUS, TMV/Elf) - 10 pts
3. Erika Heineken (USA, ML/Ozone) - 10.7 pts
4. Aga Grzymska (POL, ML/Ozone) - 14 pts
5. Anastasia Akopova (RUS, ML/Ozone) - 26.7 pts
Full results can be found here: http://internationalkiteboarding.org/images/documents/results/2014FKWorldsResults.pdf