France's Groupama completed a heroic comeback victory on Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Friday, strengthening their grip on the overall standings and realising a dream homecoming to the port of Lorient.
Franck Cammas and his men were cheered by thousands of fans on the Brittany coast after crossing the Leg 8 finish line at their home port at 13:31:04 local, 11:31:04 UTC to claim the maximum 30 points, with an elapsed time of four days, 23 hours, 31 minutes and four seconds.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand finished second at 14:30:09 local, 12:30:09 UTC, earning 25 points. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG finished at 12:43:04 UTC, scoring 20 points and moving into second place overall. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing finished fourth at 14:17:25 UTC.
Groupama's win extended their lead at the top of the standings to 23 points, with PUMA moving up to second and Telefónica left level on points with CAMPER a further five points back after seeing their victory hopes were dashed when they broke a second rudder while leading overnight.
Telefonica eventually came in fifth at 20:40:26 UTC for 10 points, with Sanya finishing within 20 minutes at 20:59:41 after scrapping all the way on a blistering leg they never had a chance of winning in their older generation boat.
“It was a short leg, but it was a hard leg,” skipper Franck Cammas said while surrounded by thousands of fans on the docks at Lorient. “It is a very good feeling for sure, it is a dream we had 10 months ago and we arrive with a win now.”
It is an impressive comeback for Groupama who dropped to fourth place just two days ago when their mainsail jammed and the team spent a costly two hours with bowman Brad Marsh at the top of the 31-metre mast effecting repairs in storm conditions.
But the never-say-die crew fought back to reclaim the lead less than 12-hours before the finish with blistering pace in the North Atlantic low pressure system that packed 45 knots winds and four metre waves.
The French team’s victory hopes were bolstered by the misfortune of their arch-rivals Telefónica as the Spanish team were forced to slow to survival speeds after breaking both their rudders on the furious run to the finish.
Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez said the damage had effectively ended their chances of overall victory, with Groupama now enjoying a significant lead with just one leg and two in-port races remaining.
- 1 Jul 2012Resurgent Telefónica lead fleet out on final leg
- 30 Jun 2012Rivals target Groupama in tight inshore scrap
- 16 Jun 2012Short, fast and brutal
- 13 Jun 2012Telefónica three minutes ahead at São Miguel
- 31 May 2012Dock talk: Leg 7 finish
- 27 May 2012Resurgent Abu Dhabi board express train to Lisbon