Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group pull out all the stops
This fifth meeting of the season has proved to be incredibly intense! Indeed, it wasn’t until the very last tack of the last race of the Amsterdam grand prix, the race which is worth double points, that we found out the name of the winning crew. At the end of the seventeen races contested during the past three days of racing, coloured in the main by a light breeze, Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group scored a brilliant win ahead of Oman Sail Renaissance and Groupama 40. After their victory in Venice, Yann Guichard and his three crew have made the double today and as such the race for the 2009 title is very much on with one stage to go.
For this last day of racing in Amsterdam, the tension was evident aboard Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group as Yann Guichard and his men launched into a fierce duel with Oman Sail Renaissance… At the head of the provisional ranking last night, with just a two point lead over Loïck Peyron’s crew, the men of Gitana Team knew that the slightest mistake would cost them very dearly today. However, the four sailors didn’t flinch and handled the pressure brilliantly: “From the first race of the day we were right in the thick of the action and we really sailed very well despite the high stakes of these last races. Once again the cohesion of our crew was one of the keys to our success. We are one in both the good and the bad times. It’s a great atmosphere aboard and that notably enabled us to dig deep and get back in the match during the last race where there was everything to play for… This final race was really tense: we knew that Loïck shouldn’t finish more than two boats ahead of us and we finished just behind him! It’s the perfect scenario and we’re really happy with this latest victory” admitted a very fulfilled Yann Guichard. 
As regards the championship, this Amsterdam grand prix has been an excellent operation for Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group. If we look back to the end of the German stage of the circuit, which took place in Kiel at the end of August, Yann Guichard and his three crew held onto their second place on the podium, but they were tied on points with Oman Sail Renaissance, whilst another victory to Masirah enabled them to increase their lead. However, the collision that Pete Cumming and his men were the unfortunate victims of during the 4th race on Friday, partially explains their 5th place on Dutch waters, and certainly reshuffled the cards for the remaining competitors. By performing well on the IJ-Haven canal, the one design equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has made up her deficit and is tied on points again with Oman Masirah. The Oman boat still has the advantage though thanks to an additional grand prix victory. Finally, Renaissance completes this provisional championship podium and is just a point down on them.
“We sensed it but now it has been confirmed: everything will be decided in Almeria. We really wanted to win this stage in Amsterdam so we would have nothing to regret and could stay in the running all the way to the finish. It’s a done deal! There are now three boats within a point of each other and the battle for the 2009 title will be incredible between Masirah, Renaissance and us. I’d also like to congratulate the Oman Sail team which, despite their misfortune, really got back into the thick of it” concluded Yann Guichard.
The iShares Cup fleet will be in Almeria, Spain, in a fortnight’s time for the 6th and final stage of the 2009 championship. This Andalucian stage will doubtless be packed with intrigue and suspense as we’ll have to wait till 12th October to discover the outcome of this enthralling 2009 season!
Crew of Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard (skipper-helm)
Pierre Pennec (mainsail traveller trimmer, tactics), Christophe Lassegue (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres) and Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres)
Ranking in the Amsterdam grand prix (after 17 races)
1/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group (Yann GUICHARD) - 136 points
2/ Oman Sail Renaissance (Loïck Peyron) – 132 points
3/ Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) – 115 points
4/ Holmatro (Mitch Booth) - 115 points
5/ Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming) – 111 points
6/ iShares (Shirley Robertson) – 91 points
7/ Luna (Erik Maris) – 81 points
8/ BT (Nick Moloney) – 81 points
9/ Ecover (Mike Golding) – 59 points
Provisional championship ranking (after five events)
1/ Oman Sail Masirah – 43 points (4th, 1st, 1st, 1st, 5th)
2/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group – 43 points (1st, 4th, 2nd, 4th, 1st)
3/Oman Sail Renaissance – 42 points (3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd)
4/ Groupama 40 – 33 points (5th, 5th, 6th, 3rd, 3rd)
5/ BT – 23 points (6th, 6th, 4th, 8th, 8th)
6/ iShares – 22 points (9th, 7th, 5th, 6th, 6th)
7/ Holmatro – 20 points (8th, 8th, 8th, 7th, 4th)
8/ Luna – 20 points (7th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 7th)
9/ BMW Oracle – 18 points (2nd, 2nd, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC)
10/ Ecover – 8 points (10th, 10th, 9th, 10th, 3rd)
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