4 January 2012
Abu Dhabi, UAE – Team Telefónica secured overall victory in Leg 2 with a strong second place, but there was joy too for Groupama sailing team on Wednesday, as they notched their first win of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, snatching top spot ahead of their rivals in the dying moments of the sprint into Abu Dhabi.
Groupama, led by French skipper Franck Cammas, edged past Telefónica with just over 10 nautical miles to go to the Abu Dhabi finish line, claiming victory in the 98-nautical mile sprint from the northern United Arab Emirates by just 52 seconds to take a maximum six points.
Their victory came despite the fact that six of their sailors had to carry out a repair job on hull damage sustained in the first part of the leg.
Telefónica, the overall race leaders, are the Leg 2 winners with 29 points following their first place in Stage 1 from Cape Town to the undisclosed ‘safe haven’ in the Indian Ocean. That stage finished on December 26 with a thrilling head-to-head between Telefónica and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand.
Telefónica lead the overall standings with 66 points followed by CAMPER on 58 after they finished third in Wednesday’s sprint stage to clinch second place overall in Leg 2. Groupama remain in third overall on 42 points.
CAMPER picked up the final podium position in Leg 2 Stage 2, 50 seconds ahead of PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG. PUMA’s position seals third place overall in Leg 2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were a disappointing fifth into their home town port.
As a safety measure to deter piracy, race organisers split the second leg into two stages. After racing to the safe haven port, the boats were loaded onto a ship and transported through the worst affected waters to the northern United Arab Emirates. They were then unloaded with racing resuming with a 98 nautical mile sprint into Abu Dhabi, the first time the race has visited the Middle East in its 38-year history.
Team Sanya, the sixth team in this edition of the race, are currently in Madagascar making repairs to their rig, which failed on the ninth day of the first stage of Leg 2 while they were leading. Once the rig is repaired the team will race to the safe haven port where they will meet the fleet for the second stage of Leg 3.
The fleet returns to action on January 13 with the Etihad Airways In-Port Race with Leg 3, from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, starting on January 14.