Formula Kite Worlds D5, reigning Champions Nolot and Maeder lead overall

Formula Kite Worlds D5, reigning Champions Nolot and Maeder lead overall

Formula Kite Worlds D5, reigning Champions Nolot and Maeder lead overall


18/05/2024 - 18:00

Defending champions Max Maeder and Lauriane Nolot go into the final day of the 2024 Formula Kite World Championships in pole position. The riders from Singapore and France will wear the yellow jerseys on the day it matters most, the final of six days of high-speed competition in Hyères in the South of France.

The four-rider finals on Sunday afternoon will determine who comes away with which medal. Whoever is first to three wins in the final will win the gold medal. For winning the last two days of gold fleet competition, Nolot and Maeder carry the reward of two race wins into the final, which means they’re just one race away from defending their world titles.

However on the strength of the last day of gold fleet racing on a sunny, medium-airs afternoon on the Mediterranean, Nolot will have to be at her best if she is to hold back the growing confidence of French rival Poema Newland. Three race wins in a row was the perfect way for Newland to round off her gold fleet campaign and it lifts her to fourth overall. It was a massive turnaround in fortunes after a disappointing Friday for the Hyères resident. “Today is much better than yesterday. Because yesterday I couldn't find the pace. I was really like a spectator of all the races. And today I was like, okay, let's do it better.”



Now the question is how Newland will perform in four-rider races compared with a busy start line of 23 in gold fleet. “I'm still struggling with the starts at the moment, but it's getting better and better. If you're having bad starts in this fleet, you're dead. Today I was getting off the line better and I felt good.”

Newland was also looking like the fastest downwind, which could prove a critical advantage on the final day with a more open race course. The last race saw the breeze drop a bit lighter and some rushed back to the beach to switch up from the 15 square metre to the 21 square metre. Newland decided to stay on the smaller kite. “I really don’t like sailing overpowered with the 21, so I made the choice to stay on the 15.” On the downwind legs Daniela Moroz of the USA was bearing down on the French rider with her bigger 21 but Newland did enough to hold on for the win.

Between Nolot’s victory in 2023 and Moroz’s six back-to-back victories up to her most recent title at the end of 2022, Newland today got the better of the world champions and she enjoyed the feeling. “It feels good. It’s a lot of pressure, it's good racing with them. It makes you push your limit and push even harder. Obviously I'm tired because everyone was pushing so hard. But it's like a good kind of tired. I’m happy with today, and I can go home and relax and be ready for tomorrow.”


It was also a morale-boosting day for Moroz who, after dominating the sport for so many years, has spent the past couple of seasons coming to terms with the growing strength of other nations, France and Great Britain in particular. After winning the opening race of the day and proving she was competitive throughout the afternoon, the seventh-placed American rider can go into the last day feeling she has a shot at the podium. 

“It’s just crazy to think this is the last big regatta before the Olympics,” said Moroz. “Tomorrow is the last big learning opportunity to enter into the semi-finals and try to fight to get a spot in the final. So yeah, it feels weird because it's kind of over after this. This is the last big regatta and then everyone's focus is on the Olympics. So it's really exciting, but I just want to go and have fun out there. It’ll be cool. I'm excited.”

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