Percy & Simpson and Ainslie move nearer to gold
- Fri, 3 Aug 2012
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (pictured) edged nearer back-to-back gold medals in the Star class by winning their last race before the medal race.
The British pair head into Sunday's double-points finale with an eight-point advantage over nearest rivals, Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, after beginning the day with a fourth-place finish.
The Brazilians actually outperformed Percy and Simpson on day five of their regatta, finishing first and third, but the Britons are firmly in the box seat with only the medal race left.
The proximity of Sweden's Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen in third place means Percy and Simpson cannot simply match-race Scheidt and Prada down the fleet to win gold (as Ben Ainslie did against Scheidt in 2000), but a top-four finish - a feat they have achieved in nine of the 10 races - will guarantee a gold for Britain.
Ainslie is in a less-dominant position ahead of his medal race, but is also in a great position after winning the day's final race in the Finn class.
The triple gold-medallist finished sixth in the day's first race, one place behind Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark who sits above him the standings.
But victory in race two to the Dane's third moved Ainslie to within two points of his rival, but with the medal race counting double all Ainslie has to do is beat Hogh-Christensen, as he has done in three of the last four races. If third-placed Pieter-Jan Postma wins the race, then Ainslie must finish at least seventh to stay ahead of the Dutchman.
Elsewhere Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes dropped out of the medal positions in the 49er class with 17th, fourth and 20th-place finishes.
The Exmouth duo still have four races to go before their medal race in a 15-race series, so have opportunity to claw their way back up the leaderboard, especially as they lie just eight points behind the Finnish team of Lauri Lehtinen and Kalle Bask.
Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen top the standings, despite not recording a top three finish in any of the last five races. But the pre-regatta favourites keep posting consistent finishes while their rivals falter around them.
Alison Young slipped to fifth in the Laser Radial after finishing in sixth and eighth-positions, but remains in medal contention with two races to go before the medal race.
Ireland's Annalise Murphy, who astounded the field by winning the first four races, lost the top spot to Belgium's Evi Van Acker, who won the day's second race and is now ahead by a point.
It is shaping up to be a very tight Ashes battle in the men's 470 with Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell remaining at the top of the standings on day two of their regatta.
The Brits recorded fourth and second-place finishes, but relinquished the lead of the second race to Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page of Australia who sit six points behind in second.
The British boat also leads in the women's 470 as Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark began their campaign in encouragingly with a sixth place, before a comfortable victory in race two.
Reigning champion Paul Goodison sits eighth in the Laser class, as he endured another day fighting back pain and finished 18th and 12th. Australia look good for a medal here too with Tom Slingsby topping the field after eight races.
Picture courtesy of onEdition.