Ian Williams back in contention in World Match Race Tour

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The Independent Online

A second consecutive win on the World Match Race Tour saw Britain’s Ian Williams give notice that he is again a serious contender as he moved up to third overall on the 2011 tour.

The Stena Cup did not come easily in front of a large crowd in Marstrand, Sweden. Local opponent Bjorn Hansen was convinced Williams should have been penalised at least twice in fifth race of the best of five decider.

Instead, it was a double penalty against Hansen at the end of the third leg of the four-leg fifth race that saw Williams, a double former world champion, take over the lead and win 3-2.

Hot from winning the Portuguese grand prix, the win pushes him up to just three points behind Australia’s Peter Gilmour and 10 behind the overall leader, Italy’s Francesco Bruni.

Williams was always fighting to come from behind in the championship decider but was consistently chipping away at Hansen’s lead when playing the tricky conditions upwind and was in position to force Hansen onto the defensive at the end of the third leg.

“I didn’t know if we could win coming off the start line, but we have been improving the way we sail the boat,” said Williams. “We feel strong right now and have a good shot at winning the 2011 series. But I expect it will all come down to the final regatta, the Monsoon Cup, in Malaysia at the end of November.”

Williams takes the same GAC Pindar team to the next event at St. Moritz at the end of August and is also contesting the Extreme Sailing Series, though playing catch-up in what is a new class of 40-foot catamaran for him, Cowes Week in early August is at least on home waters. The next match race event is at St. Moritz at the end of August.