Cousin Questel completes clean sweep and Iachino bounces backKrakenSailing
After a slow start to the week with rain and light winds keeping the contest on hold the 2019 Ulsan PWA World Cup gradually gathered pace, leading to a frantic final day of racing as Jinha Beach produced some of the best racing conditions of the year, which allowed 3 Men’s and 4 Women’s Slalom Eliminations to be completed, while 5 Women’s Foil Eliminations were also finished over the course of the last 6 days in South Korea to end the Asian leg of the tour on a positive note.
Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui / Starboard Foil) walks away from the Asian leg of the tour with a perfect record after the 27-year-old successfully claimed victory in South Korea, having already won in Japan earlier in the month. Cousin Questel led the Foil from start to finish in Ulsan and finished the event with three bullets from a possible five while finishing second and third in the other two eliminations. Cousin Questel continues to set the pace and deservedly walks away from Asia with a commanding lead at the top of the overall rankings.
Marina Alabau (Starboard / Severne /Starboard Foil) and Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / LOKEFOIL) proved to be Cousin Questel’s closest rivals and they finished tied on 8.7 points, but it is Alabau M. who could’ve really challenged Cousin Questel, but for a couple of unfortunate pieces of luck. The 2012 Olympic Champion crashed while trying to adjust her harness line while leading one race and hit a clump of seaweed when leading in another, so could’ve been much closer.
Mortefon, meanwhile, claimed her first foil bullet and will be happy to have secured two foil podium in the two opening events.
Elsewhere, Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne /Starboard Foil) and Helle Oppedal (Fanatic / Duotone) complete the top five and the aforementioned women have clearly established themselves as the top seeds.
Things really couldn’t be going any better for Delphine Cousin Questel at the moment as not only did she complete a Foil clean sweep in Asia, she also completed the double in Slalom as well, which means the three-time world champion has now won the last nine racing events (7 Slalom & 2 Foil) in a record which stretches back to November 2017. In South Korea though, Cousin Questel didn’t have things all her own way and had to produce her best performances at the death as the 27-year-old won the last two races to deny Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone).
Mortefon staked her claim for the event title with a highly impressive victory in the second elimination to briefly take the lead and despite pushing Cousin Questel all the way in the last two eliminations she couldn’t quite secure the top place on the podium this time around. However, Mortefon has made a brilliant start to the season and after the opening three events finds herself in a solid second position.
Twenty-two-year-old Maêlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loftsails) produce a late charge in South Korea to secure the final place on the podium. Guilbaud looked out of the running having missed out on the winners’ final in the second race, but bounced back strongly with a third and fourth place to snatch the last place on the podium away from her good friend Lilou Granier (Starboard / Phantom Sails), who finished 4th overall. Guilbaud has now recorded back-to-back podiums in South Korea having also finished third in 2018.
Lena Erdil’s (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins) couldn’t have dreamt for a better start in Jinha after taking the early event lead with her first bullet since returning from injury in the opening race of the week. However, possibly lacking a bit of fitness and racing sharpness, Erdil saw her challenge for the event title capitulate on the final day and eventually finished fifth. Erdil should take plenty of positives from winning her first race so quickly after a serious injury and she’ll be even more of a threat going forward.
Elsewhere, Mio Anayama (Starboard / S2Maui), recovered brilliantly after missing out on the opening winners’ final by qualifying for the top eight in the remaining three eliminations and walks away from South Korea with a sixth place having recorded a third and two fifth’s.
Matteo Iachino’s (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) season didn’t get off to the start he would’ve wanted in Marignane, but the 2016 world champion bounced back like a true champion in South Korea to claim his first event victory of the season. The Italian was the only sailor in the entire fleet to qualify for every winners’ final and never finished outside of the top five and deservedly walks away with the top spot on the podium. Iachino is now ranked tenth overall.
Having qualified for so many winners’ finals over the last couple of seasons, Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) finally tasted victory for the first time with a brilliant performance in the opening race and the Flying Dutchman briefly led the event. However, he saw his hopes of securing a first event victory dashed in the very next race after being eliminated in the semifinals, but quickly put that disappointment behind him to finish 6th in the third and final elimination to earn his second podium on the world tour – second. Vonk is now tied on 19,600 points with Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) at the top of the overall rankings, but it is AA who leads the world title race on countback.
Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) has had to wait quite a while for his first podium on the world tour. The 25-year-old came Agonisingly close in Alacati in 2015 but just missed out after going over early in the last elimination. However, after a long wait Algret finally has his hands on a coveted top three finish at the end of the event here in South Korea. Algret’s first podium sees him climb into sixth in the overall ranking.
Having been unlucky with seaweed in the opening elimination, which led to a quarterfinal exit, Antoine Albeau almost completed a miraculous comeback for a place on the podium in Ulsan. The reigning world champion bounced back with a third place in Elimination 2, before clinching his first bullet of the year in the final race of the week. However, it wasn’t quite enough with the 25-time world champion missing out on 3rd place by just 0.2 of a point to Algret. Fourth place here is still enough to send AA into the title race lead for the first time this season heading into Fuerteventura.
Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) was one of the most consistent performers over the last six days with the Brazilian never finishing outside the top 16. Isaac also secured a super second place finish in Elimination 2 and walks away from Ulsan with a fifth place while rising to fourth in the overalls.
Elsewhere, Antoine Questel (I-99 / S2Maui) claimed his first top 10 finish of the season – sixth – while teammates Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses) and Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) both bounced back from disappointing results in France by finishing seventh and eighth respectively.
Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) will be delighted to have earned his first top 10 result on the PWA World Tour – 9th. The former Youth World Champion was able to win two b-finals in South Korea and things could’ve been even better for the 21-year-old had he not made a mistake on the final reach in the quarterfinals of Elimination 3, which allowed Basile Jacquin (I-99 / Point-7) to pip him to the final spot in the top 16. However, that was the only blemish in an otherwise fantastic performance and Westera rises to an all time high – fifth – in the overall world tour rankings.
Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) completed the top 10 in South Korea ahead of Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins) in 11th, while Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) had to settle for 12th place here. The previous world tour leader suffered two quarterfinal exits in the opening two races and only managed to salvage a top 12 finish by finishing third in the last elimination. Mortefon drops from first to ninth in the overall rankings.
Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) is developing the reputation as the comeback kid on the world tour at the moment, with the Bonairean continually fighting his way back from the dead. Vrieswijk recorded two top 16 results – 11th and 12th – and if he can fine tune his starting a little he could realistically threaten the top 10 and beyond going forwards.
Elsewhere, Taty Frans (FMX Racing / Point-7) paid the ultimate price in the second elimination, which saw the Bonairean disqualified for dangerous sailing in an incident with Malte Reuscher (Tabou / GA Sails) when blinded by the sun while attempting to round the third mark. Frans had finished second in the opening elimination and could’ve easily let his head drop after that DSQ, but deserves great credit for battling on to eventually qualify for his second winners’ final in three races to claim fifth in the third and final race. Frans endured a tough 2018 season but looks like he could be recapturing the kind of form which saw him ranked as high as sixth overall in 2016.
Overall Result 2019 Ulsan PWA World Cup – Women’s Foil
1st Delphine Cousin Questel ( FRA – Starboard / S2Maui / Starboard Foil)
2nd Marina Alabau (ESP – Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil)
3rd Marion Mortefon (FRA – Fanatic / Duotone / LOKEFOIL)
4th Blanca Alabau (ESP – Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil)
5th Helle Oppedal (NOR – Fanatic / Duotone)
Overall Result 2019 Ulsan PWA World Cup – Women’s Slalom
1st Delphine Cousin Questel ( FRA – Starboard / S2Maui)
2nd Marion Mortefon (FRA – Fanatic / Duotone)
3rd Maëlle Guilbaud (FRA – Patrik / Loftsails)
4th Lilou Granier (NC – Starboard / Phantom Sails)
5th Lena Erdil (TUR – Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins)
Overall Result 2019 Ulsan PWA World Cup – Men’s Slalom
1st Matteo Iachino (ITA – Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses)
2nd Jordy Vonk (NED – Fanatic / Duotone)
3rd Tristan Algret (GPE – Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins)
4th Antoine Albeau (FRA – JP / NeilPryde)
5th Mateus Isaac (BRA – JP / NeilPryde)
6th Antoine Questel (FRA – I-99 / S2Maui)
7th Ross Williams (GBR – Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses)
8th Cedric Bordes (FRA – Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Ethan Westera (ARU – Tabou / GA Sails)
10th Enrico Marotti (CRO – JP / NeilPryde)