The second Gliding Grand Prix Race was held today in Turin with a task of 226.6Km. The task took the pilots north east from the start along the western edge of the Susa Valley around a northern turn point at Trausella and then back past the start line to a midpoint called Pinerolo. From Pinerolo the task took the competitors south a further 46 Km to the southernmost turn point at Dronero where the pilots then turned north again back to Pinerolo with a final dog leg of 13.5Km to the finish at Maritani.
The conditions looked fair at first with competitors able to climb two or three hundred metres above start height prior to the start but weakened later as a sheet of milky top cover crept in across the task area. From the start the fleet kept mainly together climbing in pre-tested areas near now familiar hill tops and near an abandoned asbestos mine on the way to the first turn point. The early pace setters were Krystof Herczynski from Poland and 'the flying Frenchman', Laurent Couture, who tried to make a break from the pack only to be hauled back in again before the first turn. The fleet rounded Trausella almost as a group and then started the long leg of 75.6km south back past the start and the main World Air Games site in Turin. Progress south became slower as the encroaching sheet of milky upper cloud slowed the heating and reduced climb rates to less than 1m/s. The organisers were looking nervous at this stage, hoping the competitors would be able to finish the task. Eventually the fleet made it past the midpoint turn at Pinerolo and the conditions improved. The fleet mainly stuck together and at one point all eleven gliders were in the same thermal separated by only 300m in height. One by one, different pilots struck out to try their luck on their own only to find later they were gobbled up by the chasing pack. Unseen by the tracking system, the two German Pilots of Michael Buchtal and Matthias Sturm were eventually able to make a break from the pack and climbed well on a ridge about 6Km short of the Dronero turn point, closely followed by Giancarlo Grinza in 3CU. Stephano Ghiorzo made a valiant attempt to catch them but eventually succumbed to gravity and landed out, as did Giorgio Galetto, Sarah Kelman and Laurent Couture. The three leading pilots made it through turn point three and headed back north towards the last turn point and the finish, stopping briefly on the same hill top that had delivered the height they needed to make the turn at Dronero. The trip home was again slow going with gentle climbs of around 1m/s which eventually brought the three leaders back to turn point 4 at Pinerolo. Behind the leading three, Ronald Termatt from the Netherlands and Chip Garner from the USA worked together and managed to close up on the leading three, but did not have enough height to catch them. Further back, Sebastian Kawa and Krystof Herczynski, both from Poland, worked together in the tricky conditions to stay airborne and round the last few turn points. The final glide produced a relatively easy task for Matthias Sturm with a short gap behind him to Michael Buchtal and Giancarlo Grinzain in third place. In fourth Ronald Turmaat, flying conservatively and sensibly to keep his height, crossed the line above the 1100 m minimum. Behind him, Chip Garner crossed under the minimum height limit and had to take a climb on the Maritani hills. Eventually he come back to cross the finish line in fifth position. Over ten minutes later, Sebastian Kawa and Krystof Herczynski made up the final finishers. Final results can be found at http://www.wag2009.com/eng/results/index.htm Live tracking for today’s race at http://www.wag2009.com/eng/video/livestreaming.htm