SINGAPORE - They won the opening leg of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series at Marina Bay yesterday, and Austria's Red Bull Sailing Team know they will have a target on their backs as they prepare for the next stop in Muscat, Oman.
Speaking after the win yesterday, skipper Roman Hargara, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, said: "The others definitely know that we are good contenders now and that they have to look out for us.
"It will be a bit harder now that they know we are also fighting for the wins."
Singapore was the first stop of the eight-leg series and Red Bull topped the leaderboard with 232 points, just five ahead of Denmark's SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
Two-time overall series winners and last year's runner-up, Oman's The Wave, Muscat, finished third on 220 points.
Hargara was thrilled with his team's performance, after they learnt from their mistakes to storm to victory.
The 48-year-old Austrian revealed there were more improvements to be made to the boat before the Muscat leg, from March 11 to 14.
"One of the biggest improvements we'll still have to make is to get a good start," he said. "It's one of the most important things in the series, because the race course is very short so if you have a bad start, it's really hard to catch up with the other teams."
He at least knows it will be easier for his team to make a good start in Muscat, where he is expecting the breeze to be more stable than the shifty winds at Marina Bay.
The Red Bull catamaran had overtaken the SAP outfit on Saturday and stayed at the top after the final day's racing.
SAP Extreme co-skipper, Jes Gram-Hansen, is confident his team can regain the initiative in Oman.
"The racecourse is very tricky in Marina Bay because of the wind," said the America's Cup sailor. "When we go to the next event in Oman we'll be sailing in steadier conditions, so it'll be interesting to see which team will perform well in different conditions."
The 43-year-old did admit that Red Bull and The Wave would stay strong all season.
Perhaps playing mind games, Leigh McMillan, the skipper of The Wave, labelled Red Bull Sailing and SAP Extreme Sailing as the ones to beat.
McMillan, who won the series in 2012 and 2013, said: "Red Bull have certainly made themselves the team to beat for now, and we're going to have our eyes firmly on them and SAP in the next event.
"They're the two in front of us, and we're going to get a few points back from them in Oman."
We don't learn from them (rivals SAP Extreme Sailing Team and The Wave, Muscat), we learn from our mistakes, learn from day to day.
Every day we try to analyse what our mistakes are and we then try to improve the next day and I think that was one of our secrets here. - Winning captain Roman Hargara of Red Bull Sailing Team
This article was first published on Feb 09, 2015.
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