French continue to impress at Palma

Changeable weather on the Bay of Palma might have finally brought some sunshine and warmer temperatures to the racing waters of the 51 Trofeo Sofía Mallorca Olympic classes, but staying on top of the sizeable shifts in wind direction and pressure offered a whole new set of challenges to the huge fleet of racers after the first couple of days of cold offshore northeasterly winds.

On this third day of the first Hempel World Cup Series regatta of 2022 the standout performances included French Formula Kite rider Lauriane Nolot. After a frustrating opening to her Olympic campaign yesterday, today she fired off a second and three first places to lead the women’s fleet by five points.

On the first day of gold fleet racing in the ILCA7 class, the comeback of Australia’s 2020 gold medallist Matthew Wearn has been impressive. A technical failure meant he started the event with a DNC, then 26th, but today he fought his way up to eighth overall with two second places.

This may only be the very start of the road to Paris 2024 but the strength and depth of the French team is impressive leading overall in the 49er, the ILCA 7 and both iQFOiL and Formula Kite women.

Respectively bronze and silver medallists at last year’s world championships, the rivalry between the French kiters Lauriane Nolot and compatriot Poema Newland – who lies third here – ensures both are pushing each other to higher and higher levels.

“I feel like this is the start of our road to the Olympics and with Poema, the way we have been battling against each other since last year is good for both of us and here we are near the top. But I am a little bit of a perfectionist and so I see my mistakes everywhere and am always looking to improve,” smiles Nolot who lives and trains from Hyères at the epicentre of the hotbed of French kiting, along with the Montpellier beaches.

“I wanted to avoid all the mistakes I made yesterday when I was too focused on how unpredictable the wind was. Today I just accepted the wind is unpredictable here and just concentrated on my speed and that worked well. I went where I had space and clear wind and that was key as I won every race. I was trying a new kite yesterday and was out of my comfort zone a bit, away from my good habits.”

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