After more than 6,500 nautical miles of sailing, PUMA’s lead over Telefónica was down to little over a kilometre on Friday as the pair entered the final few hours of Leg 5.
With the wind now behind the leading duo, boat speeds were sitting above 10 knots as the dash to the finish line in Itajaí intensified.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG still occupied the top spot with around 40 nm to go but Telefónica were just 0.7 nm behind at 1400 UTC and sailing a fraction quicker directly south of the leaders.
PUMA media crewmember Amory Ross said while the leaders were concerned about Telefónica’s gains, there was little they could do to stop the advance.
“We’re doing our absolute best but there’s something very disconcerting about watching your lead evaporate sched by sched to a boat thriving in conditions we can’t reach,” he said.
“But therein lies the bright side: there is nothing we can really do about Telefónica, so we’ve been focusing on sailing our own boat as best we know how.
“It’s going to make for a very exciting final day of racing!”
Telefónica MCM Diego Fructuoso said his team were revelling in the thrill of the chase. "We are now gaining lots of miles on our rival PUMA,'' he said. "We all have confidence in the boat and we keep getting close."
The estimated time of arrival for both teams is around 1600 UTC today.
- 5 Apr 2012PUMA facing new threat -- Telefónica
- 3 Apr 2012One hundred miles splits top three in Leg 5 finale
- 29 Mar 2012Groupama and PUMA in tactical battle on approach to Horn
- 23 Mar 2012Pushing the limits of man and boat
- 22 Mar 2012Gloves come off on Abu Dhabi despite plummeting temperatures
- 21 Mar 2012Calm after the storm buys vital time for teams