Contest Director and live comentator Brian Spreckley
A low pressure system was developing in northern Spain as briefing on the first competition day took place. The forecast was for good conditions earlier in the day with the likelihood of over development and areas of rain later in the afternoon. As a result, launching was moved forward to around 12:30 and the race got underway about 13:45.
The task was similar to the practise day with four turnpoints. After the first turn 25km east of La Cerdanya airfield, the task continued 103 km west to Pic Cervi, then 33km south to Boumort, 79km northeast to Fornsolarfr and then 18km to the finish line for a total of 258km.
The conditions at the start were weak, but soon the fleet was off to the first turnpoint in increasingly good conditions.
The pilots quickly split into two groups but by the time they reached the turnpoint, they had come back together again. One small group, including Sebastian Kawa and Mike Young, tracked north while the others took a more southerly route to the Pic Cervi turnpoint.
Tilo Holighaus found his own way going along the southern face of the mountains along the valley. Once again the fleet split into two groups one group heading north where the cloudbase was higher and the other group with Tilo went south but still had good conditions.
Once again they came together and climbed to 4000m before crossing the valley and into the turnpoint.
Practise day winner Louis Bouderlique went deeper into the turnpoint than perhaps he should have and lost his lead. After the race Tilo expressed surprise that Louis and others had flown so far into the cylinder as he turned immediately towards Beaumort, putting him in a strong position.
Sebastian went along a different direction from everyone else, looking to find a winning strategy. But this approach did not work for him and by the end of the race he was at the back of the fleet.
Day one winner Tilo Holighaus
Soon the fleet had final climb, and the race to the finish commenced with Tilo well in front, followed by Gintas Zube. Tilo said that from the last turnpoint there was a massive convergence line and he streaked along at 200kph to win the day.
The following gliders flew through rain and hail, which did cause some damage to paint and seals on their gliders. The following five scoring places were taken, with only seconds between the finishers. The last two scoring places were several minutes behind. Pete Temple said, ‘Unfortunately, the scoring is savage and finishing 10th in a GP awards no points.’
Mike Young took 3rd place
The contest continues on 3 June. Stay tuned for Day 2 of the 9th FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Champion title, Madrid time. Wherever you are in the world, keep up with all the action at http://sgp.aero/finals2019.
Report by Sean Young