OMARAMA, New Zealand (December 20, 2007) – It was day of tense racing on day two of the FAI World GP Gliding Championship with another very high speed close finish .

The final 55km stretch to the finish line was a neck and neck race between the two leaders with Sebastian Kawa (POL), the current world number one, pipping Ben Flewett (NZE) to the post by just 7 seconds and finishing in a time of 2 hours 17 minutes 4 seconds. Steve Jones (GBR) finished in third place in 2hours 18 minutes and 14 seconds.

Kawa enjoyed the course but really sensed that the pressure is mounting as the title of World Champion moves closer to being decided. “Everyone is watching your moves and acting accordingly. It is difficult when you are out in the front you have to make your own decisions. We all make wrong judgements and the winner will definitely be the pilot who makes the least mistakes. The next few days are going to be very exciting,” he said.

The 282.2km task first travelled north west to Mt Aspiring National Park with three major mountain ranges for the pilots to contend with, and it was vital for them to stay high. Mario Kiessling (GER) led through the first turnpoint, followed by Russian pilot, Vladimir Panafutin, flying an LS6, the oldest glider in the fleet.

By the southern turnpoint at Goodger the gliders were much more bunched. The drier weather gave more predictable lift for the pilots and with longer stretches between the turn points the gliders were able to deviate along the mountain ridges to gain good energy and speed.

The key to the fast finish was remaining high after the penultimate turn over the Ben Ohau range. The final descent back to Omarama airfield contained multiple thermals giving exciting racing conditions for both pilots and spectators.

Using the latest TV filming technology spectators around the world are watching the race live or delayed on the internet, following the glider’s paths, speeds and altitude and also benefiting from the live commentary. An interactive email system has been set up with questions being received from around the world for the expert commentators.
The six days of intense, high speed competition continues tomorrow. For full results and images, visit