Day four of the 2008 Fuerteventura Kitespeed Grand Slam saw one of the most thrilling kitespeed races of all times. The first leg brought some big surprises, but todays second heat outperformed everything looked at before.
The first heat started in winds averaging 20 knots, gusting 25, but on a much broader angle than yesterdays races. The favorites seemed to have not big enough kites for such conditions, and so it was up to Robert Douglas from the USA to get the victory. The favourites, first of all Alex Caizergues and Sebastien Cattelan struggeled with the conditions, and so it was up to Robert Douglas (USA) to snatch the victory ahead of Rolf van der Vlugt (NED) and Christophe Prin-Guenon (FRA).
The second heat was postponed for one and a half hour to get hold of the best wind conditions of the day in the afternoon. What followed now was a race in really tough conditions, 25 knots average wind gusting 30, and quite rough water. With a wind angle of app. 145 degree it was hard for most of the riders to make the course.
The lead was changing with almost every run of the top riders, as the conditions improved more and moe during the afternoon. It was mainly again Robert Douglas ruling the heat, crowned with a new USA kitespeed record (subject to WSSRC ratification). 39.05 knots was also the best speed of the day, but in one of the last runs of the leg Sebastien Cattelan managed to get a better average and steal victory. Alex Caizergues then in third.
The womens heats were a “one woman” show of Charlotte Consorti (FRA) again, although Sjoukje Bredenkamp (RSA) was able to defend the lead of the second heat for a long time. But in the end it was again Charlotte ahead of Sjoukje, Katja Roose (NED) in third.
After the first discard, Sebastien Cattelan has a razer-thin lead ahead of newcomer Robert Douglas, Alex Caizergues in third. A second discard is far away at the moment, but could change a lot.
In the womens fleet, Charlotte Consorti is clearly in the lead with all races won, Sjoukje Bredenkamp and Katja Roose safely in second and third.
Sotavento Beach saw another epic battle today, with the better end for Sebastien Cattelan. Two races were completed today, varying from 20 knots and flat water to 30 knots and killer chop.
It was again Cattelan, Douglas and Roberts who fought for the event lead. Christophe Prin-Guenon is also still in reach of the podium.
Cattelan managed two bullets today, and Prin-Guenon together with Robert Douglas short behind.
The first race was started in app. 20 knots of wind and perfect water conditions. With two extensions it was clear that the conditions improved over the duration of the leg. The second leg was started for the afternoon session then, with the winds picking up to almost 30 knots,and it was again a fight between the “big three” for the lead.
In the end it was again Cattelan ahead of Douglas and Caizergues, who snatched victory in one of his last runs.
Cattelan is leading the event scoring now clearly, ahead of Douglas and Caizerues. With probably one or two legs left it will be hard to stop him.
The ladies fleet saw a new face on the first place, Sjoukje Bredenkamp finally managed to defeat Charlotte Consorti. Katja Roose in third again.
There are also two new records set today: Robert Douglas managed to to rise his record from yesterday by another 0.03 knots, and Jemma Grobbelaar set a new british womens kitespee record.
[Source: Speed World Cup]