Blistering Super Final shakes Tahiti from top spot

Sailing, Sports, Yachting — By on July 24, 2017 at 6:15 PM

Fondation FDJ – Des Pieds et Des Mains claim the leader’s blue gennaker

In the windiest of the 14 race days faced yet in the Tour de France à la Voile, another spectacular Super Final saw a sparkling Lorina Limonade – Golf du Morbihan take to the heavy conditions with gusto. Tour champions in 2016, Quentin Delapierre and Matthieu Salomon neatly followed up a 1-1-3 scoreline in the qualifying rounds with a resounding victory in the Super Final. Also on top form in today were Fondation FDJ – Des Pieds et Des Mains, co-skippered by double Paralympic medal winner Damien Seguin alongside Damien Iehl, who with a second place finish take control of the overall classification.

Celebrating his third win of the event, Delapierre reflected on Lorina Limonade – Golfe du Morbihan’s ups and downs: “We qualified well for the Nautical Stadium in Roses but then took a Black Flag. This time, with strong winds once again, we vowed not to mess up the start. We have had a few niggles since the beginning of the tour but today everything went well. This is a really competitive edition. The winner in Nice will have put their heart and soul into it.”

With winds blowing at up to 26 knots and well-formed waves, this was one of the most physically demanding race days the 29 already-fatigued crews have experienced so far over seven acts of the Tour.

Twenty points separated the first four boats heading into today’s qualifying rounds, and 20 points separate them still, but with the rankings completely reshuffled. Trésors de Tahiti, tour leader for the past three acts, were knocked out of the running for today’s Super Final when they took a black flag in the last race of the qualifiers. This, combined with splendid performances from some of their closest competition, sees them relegated to third place ahead of Oman Sail, who also failed to qualify today.

Ever since Act 4 in Arzon, their poorest of the series with an 11th and an 8th place, Fondation FDJ – Des Pieds et Des Mains have been slowly but surely notching up consistent results and quietly closing the gap on their rivals. Silver in today’s Final sends them straight to the top of the overall classification while a fourth place for early tour leaders Team SFS – coupled with a win in yesterday’s Coastal Raid – leaves them 13 points behind in second place.

Becoming leaders doesn’t change our strategy. Trésors de Tahiti were penalised today, but the same thing could happen to us too, so we need to be prudent. Whoever makes the least mistakes will be the winner in Nice. I hope that’s us! In any case a little break tomorrow will do us good.” commented Seguin, ambassador for the FDJ foundation which introduces young people with disabilities to the world of sailing.

Just outside of the overall top four – seen by many as the strongest candidates to win this edition of the Tour Voile – sits today’s victor Lorina Limonade – Golfe du Morbihan, while a disastrous problem with their gennaker failing to unfurl robbed Beijaflore Sailing of an early lead in the Final and ultimately moved them back to sixth place overall.

Cheminées Poujoulat, with Swiss Round the World racer Bernard Stamm and former Alinghi sailor Jean Christophe Mourniac on board, took third place in the Final, racking up their first podium finish of the series. They now lie in seventh place overall.

We had a few little problems with our gennaker furling but it went well in the end. It was a lively final. We tend to do better in the Coastal Raids but Kinou (Mourniac) managed to get some good starts and we were finally able to do well in a Super Final.” explained Stamm.

“Our aim is to finish in the top five. We are going to hang in there and try to avoid any big mistakes that could penalise us. At the minute we are consistent so that’s not bad.”

Tomorrow, Tuesday July 25th, will be a transfer day with teams on the move to Marseille for the penultimate act of this Tour. Racing will resume on Wednesday with a Coastal Raid on the cards.

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