British teenager Olly Bridge topped the standings after the opening heats of the Formula kite Short Track racing at International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) world cup final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, tied on points with the Spanish rider Florian Trittel.
Former world champion Florian Gruber (GER) lies third, just a few points off the leading pair after day two’s intense racing that saw riders put up their largest 18m foil kites in the light 8kt airs on the smooth waters off the UAE capital’s Lulu Island.
Poland’s Blazej Ozog and reigning world course racing champion Maxime Nocher (FRA) are tied on points in fourth and fifth spots, while the day-one leader Riccardo Leccese (ITA) slipped seventh place after he was disqualified in his third race.
The 16 men and four women competing in mixed heats had been seeded on the basis of their standings after day one’s four fleet races – fought out beneath clear skies on bumpy waters whipped up by 18kt winds – for the experimental Short Track racing of the closing three days.
The ten Olympic sailing classes are also battling for medals and a total prize pot of $200,000 in the warm breezes of the gulf, with Formula kite invited to showcase its new Short Track format before a representative of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The IOC delegates’ recommendation after the event could have vital bearing on whether Formula kite and the innovative fast-paced Short Track races of “round robin”, five-competitor heats of barely five minutes gains inclusion to the 2020 Tokyo Games.
On day two (Friday, Nov 28) the light breezes ensured each of the 14 heats staged lasted slightly longer than planned, up to six minutes. But the race director was able to keep to the tight schedule of race starts almost every five minutes.
That caused problems for 17-year-old Bridge in Heat 7 and Nocher in Heat 9 when they failed to make it back to the starting line in time for their respective races. Each was given redress in the jury room, boosting Bridge to top spot and Nocher to fifth.
For the four women racing in heats head-to-head with the men the competition has been tough, with world ranked number one Astrid Berz (SUI) confessing it difficult to find her form. But after day two Elena Kalinina (RUS) sits in tenth spot with a real chance of making to the closing day’s medal races, while current world champion Steph Bridge (GBR) lies 14th.
Day three (Saturday, Nov 29) is set to witness the remaining scheduled 26 heats of “stage two” with high-octane racing in a forecast 18kts of wind on butter-flat waters just off Abu Dhabi’s fabled Corniche. ISAF organizers who slightly truncated the slot for Formula kite’s day-two heats, have allocated a full three-and-a-half hours for the penultimate day’s races.
The closing day’s medal races will pit the top ten riders against one-another in two pairs of semi-finals with the top four racers competing in a winner-takes-all final for gold, silver and bronze and total prize money of $20,000.
Writer: Ian MacKinnon
The post ISAF World Cup Kiteboard’s Midway Review appeared first on KTA - Kiteboard Tour Asia.
Read original article: KTA News:ISAF World Cup Kiteboard’s Midway Review