Lee Lai-shan is facing a tough battle going into the final races of the Hyeres Olympic week regatta in France after fifth- and third-place finishes from Hong Kong's golden girl allowed old rival Maude Herbert to snatch a share of the overall lead yesterday. San San's finishes in races six and seven of the 10-race event in France left her tied with Herbert on 21 points, nine ahead of Italy's Alessandra Sensini in third. 'The real battle is now beginning,' said assistant coach Lisa Neuburger after San San's performance. Hong Kong's 1996 Olympic gold medallist had to battle through difficult weather conditions to hang on to first place and will now approach the final races of the regatta wary of the challenge posed by world number three Herbert. In the opening race of the day, Lee was in second place until the second upwind leg, when she skirted too close to Herbert and was penalised near the top mark, forcing her back to fifth place. The first race was won cleanly by 1996 Olympic bronze medallist Sensini, who has improved steadily over the course of the regatta. Sensini, who was pipped for last year's World Championship gold by San San, will need big finishes in today's final races to launch a challenge for the title. She was unable to repeat her morning triumph in the afternoon race, when Herbert revelled in her preferred wind conditions of 14-18 knots to win by a sizeable margin with Great Britain's Christine Johnston placed second. The overall standings were re-adjusted, however, when Johnston was later disqualified for starting prematurely. San San, who had put in a storming late rally to pass China's Zhang Chujun on the last stage of the race, was elevated from fourth to third after Johnston's disqualification. According to Neuburger, consistency will be the key in the final three races. 'The overall winner will be the one sailing most consistently in the very top places,' she said.