WMRT Korea Match Cup Qualifying Session 2 – Ian Williams takes pole

Ian Williams leads the qualification table after day 2 - WMRT Korea Cup 2012
Andrew Carter/AWMRT
WMRT Korea Match Cup 2012 second qualifying session was held in Gyeonggi, South Korea today, 31st May 2012. Current Tour Champion Ian Williams looks set to progress to the knockout rounds after taking pole position, recording six wins and one loss so far.

Williams took a confidence-boosting victory over Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing, whose record four World Championships he is chasing down this season. 'We always have an exciting race against Peter! Sometimes he doesn’t feel that he’s been in the race unless he’s had a couple contacts between the boats. He used the new rules well by forcing a collision and managing to wipe his penalty straight away.'

His only loss of the event came against Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match in controversial circumstances, Williams claiming that the starting boat had dragged its anchor and skewed the line. The subsequent request for redress was unsuccessful and Williams, said: 'We were disappointed with the loss against Laurie [Jury]. When the race committee boat drifts like that and moves the line, it’s frustrating not to get a redress but that’s how it goes.'

'Today’s results should take us to the Quarter Finals, which was the first challenge. We’re sailing well and we’re getting used to the new rules.'

Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing and Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Team Korea are heading the chasing pack in the qualification table, ending the day 6-2. Robertson continues his hot run of form, having taken a victory at the first event of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour season, Match Race Germany.

Mirsky competes with a crew who haven’t done a lot of sailing together previously, but he doesn’t think that’ll harm his chances: 'We’ve not sailed together that much before but we’re gelling on well as a team and all the guys are successful sailors so we feel competitive and positive about our chances.

'If we get everything right, we’ve got a team strong enough to finish at the pointy end in the next few days.

'It’s refreshing to be back at a Tour event. I’m not a Tour Card Holder this year but it’s great representing Team Korea, in Korea. I’m loving it so far.'

Winner of the 2011 Korea Match Cup, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team went into an all-Swedish match up with Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team in flight 9 as one of three skippers who finished the first day’s qualifying unbeaten. After picking up a penalty in the pre-start, Berntsson looked on the back foot but managed to pass his compatriot with an aggressive move around the mark on his last lap. Berntsson, said: 'We know Bjorn [Hansen] had a good day yesterday but it’s not so much about being leader at this stage. We just want to get points on the board to get us qualified.'

'We always have fun racing him and this was a particularly exciting one. We did well to turn around the penalty that we got early on, when approaching the finish line.'

Hansen went on to finish the day 5-2 and will know that he only needs one more victory in the last Qualifying Session tomorrow to progress to the knockout rounds and stay in with a chance of holding on to his Korea Match Cup crown from last year.

The final Qualifying Session takes place on Friday 1st June from 1000 local time (KST). Live TV will be broadcast 1400 – 1600 local time on Saturday 2nd June and Sunday 3rd June.

Results after the Second Qualifying Session:
Ian Williams (GBR) – GAC Pindar 6-1
Phil Robertson (NZ) – Waka Racing 6-2
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) – Team Korea 6-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) – Mekonomen Sailing Team 5-2
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) –Berntsson Sailing Team 4-3
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) - Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 4-4
Laurie Jury (NZ) - Kiwi Match 4-4
Peter Gilmour (AUS) – Yanmar Racing 3*-2
William Tiller (NZ) – Full Metal Jacket Racing 3-4
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) – Ferrarese Racing Team 3-5
Byeong-Ki Park (KOR) - Geoje City 0-7
Tae-Jung Kim (KOR) – Gyeonggi 0-8
* Deducted 1 point for causing damage

World Match Racing Tour website