Fuerteventura PWA World Cup
With thick overcast skies, and even a bit of rain during the morning of day 4 of the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup - sponsored by René Egli - the wind machine took a little bit of time to get into gear today. Throughout the day there was plenty of wind, but it remained unstable with the strength fluctuating greatly with the overhead clouds. Eventually, during the late afternoon, and into the early evening, Elimination 7 was completed with the majority of the fleet on 7.0s and medium boards.
With the second discard coming into play it seemed like there were plenty of sailors willing to risk pushing the start line as there was a multitude of premature starts.
Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) has been within striking distance of the top spot throughout the event, almost appearing to stalk previous leaders Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) at times, but after winning the thrilling finale of Elimination 6 yesterday and then powering to victory in Elimination 7 today, Albeau moves into an ominous lead heading into the final day. The 25-time world champions record here is unrivalled in Fuerteventura having won here every year since 2006 - apart from 2012 and 2013 (no slalom) - and it’s hard to see him surrendering the two point advantage he now holds.
However, you never know, particularly when it is Albeau’s two biggest rivals who are chasing him and with no further discards to come there is still absolutely no room for error. Mortefon is yet to finish outside the top 3, but now trails Albeau by two points, while Iachino is a point further back in 3rd. The 3 slalom heavyweights are set for an epic final day showdown - with potentially huge title race implications.
A victory for Albeau would see him extend his lead at the top of overall rankings with his current closest challenger - Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) - down in 6th place, while a victory for either Mortefon or Iachino would reignite their title challenge.
Away from the big top 3, Julien Quentel (Patrik / Gun Sails) and Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) remain 4th and 5th respectively - with Quentel discarding his quarterfinal exit today, but Bordes is now just 5.3 points behind him, so could yet challenge for 4th place. Realistically speaking the podium positions are already tied up, but it is just a case of deciding the order such has been the dominance of the big top 3.
After continually hitting the crossbar this week, sometimes through no fault of his own, things finally ran smoothly for Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) with the Pole deservedly qualifying for his second winners’ final of the week. The 27-year-old made an excellent start and went on to record his best result of the week - 4th - which sees him rise two further places to 6th in the event rankings.
However, at the moment you could almost throw a blanket over the 6th-8th places with just 4 points currently separating Rutkowski, Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) and Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses), while Antoine Questel (I-99 / S2Maui), who won today’s losers’ final is only a further 4 points further back.
The top 10 is currently completed by Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Phantom Sails / Chopper Fins), who qualified for back-to-back winners’ finals yesterday to surge up the rankings, but the Frenchman was a little annoyed with himself today after surrendering the last place into the semifinals of Elimination 7 to Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins). The Frenchman held 4th place as they rounded the last buoy, but couldn’t hold off Algret who produced an excellent final gybe. However, despite a quarterfinal exit the 30-year-old still climbs 3 places from 13th-10th.
Elsewhere, Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) will be kicking himself for dropping his last gybe in Heat 10 as the Croat was comfortably qualifying for the semi-finals - he remains 11th. Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) has been hot and cold at this event but will be pleased with today’s efforts after qualifying for his second winners’ final of the week. The Aruban went on to finish 6th which sees him climb 4 spots into 12th, while the top 16 is currently completed by Finian Maynard (FMX Racing) - 13th - Taty Frans (Future Fly / Point-7), Cyril Moussilmani (RRD / RRD Sails) - 15th - Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) - 16th, but after back-to-back 5th places Tristan Algret is in the position to strike - currently 17th but trails by just 1.5 points.
The forecast for Monday looks quite similar to Sunday mornings, but during the afternoon the wind is expected to be stronger, providing that the clouds don’t interrupt the local effect. The plan for tomorrow, if the wind is suitable, is to complete two more eliminations and the sailors will meet again at 11am tomorrow morning with the action commencing from 12pm (GMT+1).
To stay up to date with all the latest developments from Fuerteventura — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Current Ranking 2019 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - Men’s Slalom
*After Seven Eliminations
1st Antoine Albeau (FRA - JP / NeilPryde)
2nd Pierre Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins)
3rd Matteo Iachino (ITA - Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses)
4th Julien Quentel (SXM / Patrik / Gun Sails)
5th Cedric Bordes (FRA - Tabou / GA Sails)
6th Maciek Rutkowski (POL - FMX Racing / Challenger Sails)
7th Jordy Vonk (NED - Fanatic / Duotone)
8th Ross Williams (GBR - Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses)
9th Antoine Questel (FRA - I-99 / S2Maui)
10th Alexandre Cousin (FRA - Patrik / Phantom Sails / Chopper Fins)