Sailing: SAP Extreme Sailing conquer Qingdao for first-ever Act win
- Updated: May 4, 2015
May 4, 2015: SAP Extreme Sailing Team triumphed in Qingdao to enjoyed their first-ever Act win in the Extreme Sailing Series and also move to the top of the standings after three legs, one point ahead of The Wave, Muscat.
After two days racing in dense fog, Danish co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner were dominating the Act and had a 23-point lead going into the final day, when the Chinese city changed its look and feel for an intriguing finale.
On Sunday, blue skies and a complete 180-degree wind shift greeted the teams, blowing from the north and shooting bullets of breeze – anything from 3-18 knots – through the city skyline and hitting the racecourse at unpredictable angles.
The change in conditions looked to have knocked the leaders off their pace, but the Danish were able to capitalise on their outstanding performance over the three days of racing – that included 14 podiums and five race wins – to just keep the chasing pack at bay.
Gram-Hansen said: “It was fantastic for us to win our first Act. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and have been very close to doing a few times, but today it finally came together. We are proud to represent our country and also proud to win here because we have received a lot of support, not least from SAP but also from friends and family back home, which is just fantastic.”
In the chasing pack, the battle was on between The Wave, Muscat and Gazprom Team Russia, and the deciding moment came in the final race. Needing to keep a four-boat gap on leaders SAP, the young Russians had the Act win in their reach, but a penalty at the windward mark cost them not only the Act but second place, too.
Phil Robertson, Igor Lisovenko and the team settled for an admirable third place, their first podium position since joining the circuit.
“We feel a bit unlucky, but clearly stoked with third overall,” Robertson explained. “It’s a big step for the team, especially coming out of Oman when it wasn’t our best event. We took a lot away from that Act, put it into play and got way better every day here, so the boys are very happy.”
Leigh McMillan’s The Wave, Muscat finished second overall after winning the final double-points race, with Red Bull Sailing Team significantly finishing in fourth, resulting in a shake-up of the Series rankings.
SAP now lead with 28 points, The Wave, Muscat are second on 27 and Red Bull Sailing Team lie third, with 25. The fourth Act of the eight-leg Series will be held in Cardiff from June 18-21.
Land Rover Extreme Sailing Series Act 3, Qingdao, China
Position / Team / Points
1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 178 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 166 points.
3rd Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 162 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Hans Peter Steinacher, Jason Waterhouse, Josh McKnight, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 156 points.
5th Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes (TUR) Edhem Dirvana, Mitch Booth, Selim Kakış, Pedro Andrade, Brock Callen 137 points.
6th Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 115 points.
7th GAC Pindar (GBR) Seve Jarvin, Jack Macartney, Marcus Ashley-Jones, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 109 points.
8th Team Extreme Qingdao (CHN) Jonas Warrer, Cheng Ying Kit, Aaron Cooper, Liu Ming, Kong Chengcheng 104 points.
9th Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Lorenzo Bressani, Enrico Zennaro, Andrea Tesei, Tom Buggy, Stefano Rizzi 104 points.
Extreme Sailing Series 2015 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 28 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 27 points.
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 25 points.
4th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 18 points.
5th Oman Air (OMA) 18 points.
6th Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes (TUR) 15 points.
7th GAC Pindar (AUS) 14 points.
8th Lino Songeo Team Italia (ITA) 11 points.
Source: Extreme Sailing Series (www.extremesailingseries.com); Editing by SportAsia