Thursday, May 31, 2012

Victory To Abu Dhabi, Winners Of Leg 7 - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing shrugged off seven months of frustration to secure their first leg victory on Thursday, narrowly crossing the Lisbon finish line ahead of Groupama sailing team who are on the verge of claiming the overall race lead.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
Ian Walker’s men crossed the finish line at 21:23:54 UTC, just six minutes ahead of Groupama, after 12 days racing more than 3,5000 nautical miles from Miami, across the Atlantic to Portugal.

Just minutes before crossing the finish Abu Dhabi Media Crew Member Nick Dana said the wind was variable from 15 knots to 22 knots, adding to the tension of trying to fend off challenges from Groupama who were visible on their stern.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
“Everybody is really giving it their all, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster coming in,’’ Dana said. “There’s a lot on the line at the moment. We’ve needed this for a while, so we’re pretty psyched to be in this position.”

After brief celebrations a visibly emotional Walker spoke to volvooceanrace.com, saying that clinching victory in the leg, which they have led since May 26, was one of the greatest moments of his sailing career.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
“Do you think you can make the last 10 miles of a race any harder than that,’’ he said.

“It’s a massive relief it was such a tough race. Everyone knows we’re not as quick as some of the other boats so we just had to make up for it in other ways.It’s one of the most amazing experiences of my sailing career, that’s for sure. We paced ourselves pretty well, we were even sleeping today.We were preparing ourselves for a while night in the river if we have to, mentally, certainly I’m exhausted, it's just such a relief."
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
Abu Dhabi score 30 points for victory taking their total to 104 points in fifth place overall, while Groupama score 25 taking their score to 183.

Should Groupama finish two places ahead of Telefónica the French team will clinch the overall race lead, which has been held by the Spanish team since the first leg finish in November.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
Meanwhile, the battle for the remaining podium spot continues as one of the closest fought legs of the 2011-12 race heats up.PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG leading the charge, ahead of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Team Telefónica and Team Sanya.

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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