Ainslie and Williams progress to quarter-finals of Stena grand prix

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The Independent Online

On a sparkling track and in sparkling conditions Britain's two top match racers secured their places in the quarter final of the Stena grand prix , the fifth of the 2010 World Match Race Tour.

Ben Ainslie's Team Origin settled in to a morning's work which delivered three straight wins to leave him with a 5-2 score while Ian Williams' Team GAC Pindar suffered its first loss of the round robin but, with one race still to complete, stands at 5-1. If he beats the young New Zealander Reuben Corbett in that final race, Williams would head Group B, and that would give him second pick of his opponent in the quarters which start Friday.

Second pick because Group A contains the number one seed, the reigning world champion Adam Minoprio, another New Zealander. France's Mathieu Richard heads that group.

Minoprio is hanging on by the skin of his teeth, has only three wins, and will need a lot of luck plus some unlikely performances by his rivals to make the last eight.

Minoprio, in any case, is due to be absent from the circuit next year as he takes up his duties on the Spanish-backed Volvo race entry, Camper, which is being manned and managed by Team New Zealand.

Camper, a shoe manufacturer, is also sponsoring the next Audi MedCup regatta in Barcelona the week after next. The King of Spain has been invited.

Listen: An upbeat Ian Williams talks to Stuart Alexander: