Parlier moves into HFPT tour top spot after six-race derby on day three
Report: Matt Pearce / Photos: Joern Pollex – Act Agency
After two of days of tough, stormy, conditions the racers were rewarded today with sunshine and a packed day of competition with six races on the schedule. Nico Parlier had a storming first couple of days at this event with four bullets from six races but he’s been taken to the wire each time by Axel Mazella and Olly Bridge, two talented young racers with their sites set on the top spot.
Race Director Stephen Aulich briefed the riders at 9am and the first race of the day began shortly after midday with lighter, yet still patchy, winds ranging from 12-18 knots and the racers out on 11-15 meter kites. Parlier took the win and his fifth bullet of the event in today’s first race in a blistering time with his fastest finish of the event so far at 10 minutes 55 seconds but Olly was right behind him in second with Axel in third.
Nico won the second race in a slower time of 11.58, due perhaps to the gusty and variable conditions, but in the third race the finishing order started to change and it was clear that Parlier would not be walking away from day three with a clean sweep as Axel pulled into first ahead of Parlier in a quick time of 11.20.
This was when fortunes started to shift for Mazella, who until this event had been leading the tour overall, and he then won the fourth race of the day in 11.08 and the fifth in 11.10. The fourth race in particular was significant as it was the only race of the day that Nico didn’t feature in the top three due to a bad line-tangle at the start and Olly’s younger brother Guy took third behind Olly in second. Guy has had a fantastic event here in Fehmarn and has been nipping at his older brother’s heels throughout, monopolising on Olly’s mistakes to take four third place finishes over the last three days and is certainly going to be a rider to watch during the rest of the season.
Nico’s less-than-epic finish in race four only goes to show how quickly fortunes can change at this level of racing and the numerous crashes and line-tangles at both the start and finish of the race are an indication of how tight the racing has been. As a result of the collisions a number of protests were raised by the end of the day and are yet to be decided by the race officials.
In the sixth and final race of the day Nico resumed normal service as he surged back into another first place finish with the fastest time of the event so far – completing the course at breakneck speed in 10.15! Axel tailed him in second and Olly third with both riders rounding out a successful few days of racing so far here in Fehmarn. Axel has never once fallen from the top three in any of the 12 races and Olly has only had three finishes outside the podium positions.
Today marked a real change-up on the 2017 HydroFoil Pro Tour with the top riders trading places and Rikki Leccese exiting the top six as Olly Bridge moves up. Parlier is now first overall, knocking Mazella down into second, and Florian Gruber has consistently finished either within or close to the top five and moves into third overall after a steady season of racing.
Of course, the event isn’t over yet and although tomorrow’s forecast is light there are a number of riders here who are well-versed in light wind tactics who’ll no doubt be eyeing a possible opportunity to take Parlier down. With only a two point lead over Axel Mazella he’ll be fully aware that his position at the top is by no means unshakable!
TOP SIX RANKING AT HFPT FEHMARN
TOP SIX RANKING OVERALL