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Bara en vecka kvar till första racet i Audi MedCup (Alicante, 12-17 maj). Det skall bli intressant att se hur förra årets vinnare, Terry Hutchinson och Quantum Racing, står sig mot de nya båtarna (Artemis, ETNZ och Matador).

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The same rigorous approach, regular attention to development and detail and the considered, careful strategies on the water, always with an eye to long term game are once again the key, core values for reigning Audi MedCup champions Quantum Racing as they embark on the challenge of becoming the first crew ever to successfully defend the MedCup TP52 title.

Quantum Racing’s skipper-helm Terry Hutchinson and crew are already doing their utmost to unfold a programme which will give them the best possible chance of becoming the first team yet to win the Circuit two year in succession.

The full team have just completed 12 good days of training, tuning and testing off Valencia in preparation for the first regatta of the Audi MedCup season, and will log six more training days in Alicante before racing starts there on May 12th for the TP52 Series.

The hull shape and keel of the Botin Carkeek designed Quantum Racing remain unchanged on last year, other than small refinements and some structural improvements.

Their main strategy has been to continue to get more speed from the ‘aero package’ – the rig and sails.

We have sailed for twelve days now in Valencia and it was all good”, US Sailor of the Year Hutchinson reports this week. “I think I made a comment to someone that it is nerve racking because everything is going so smoothly, and so you kind of wonder what is out there that we are missing, but we have an extra 14 months with the boat under our belts as we start this season, and that makes a big difference.”

“We sailed four days with the Spanish team, doing practice races and all, and that was really, really good. We did not change the boat at all, not any hull modifications. We did do some structural stuff, and upgraded the hydraulics and a lot of little things.”

The Quantum Racing team’s immediate goal is to leverage maximum advantage from their accumulated knowledge of their proven, winning boat in the early part of the season:

“Everything we have seen in pictures of the new boats is what you’d expect them to be.” Says Hutchinson, “At this early time in the season while they are still figuring out their boats it is going to be pretty even racing, but as the season wears on you would expect the new boats to be better.”

The only personnel changes to the triumphant Quantum Racing line up on the water is the loss of bowman Jeremy Lomas (back to his native Emirates Team New Zealand). He is replaced by Dave Tank (USA), while Robert Hopkins (USA) will fill in as navigator for Ian Moore (IRL) for the first three Audi MedCup regattas.

“It is always a little bit of a war of attrition. It is not necessarily the races that you win, but those that maybe you get round the top mark in 10th and then get a fifth from which are important. It is about keeping yourself in the hunt until the end of the series.”

Hutchinson and the team were a formidable force in 2008 and all the signs are that they will be equally tough to beat on this 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit.