Volvo Ocean Race: New podium finish for MAPFRE, second in Lisbon
MAPFRE finishes Leg 7 at 5:31 UTC after nine days, 11 hours, 31 minutes and 39 seconds. It is the third podium finish in this Volvo Ocean Race for the Spanish team, which includes British sailor Rob Greenhalgh among its ranks.
Lisbon (Portugal), 27th May 2015
After 9 days, 11, hours 31 minutes and 39 seconds MAPFRE has crossed the finish line in Lisbon, the finishing port for this great leg across the Atlantic in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. A magnificent second place for Iker Martínez and his crew, who completed leg 7, from the United States to Portugal, at 5:31 UTC this morning.
Second place, and another podium finish.
Brunel were the winning team over the line 21 minutes and 50 seconds ahead of MAPFRE.
Alvimedica finished third after overtaking Dongfeng, with just 55 seconds separating both teams. Behind them Abu Dhabi and SCA were last across the line.
A sudden halt and surprising arrival
The leading pack reached the exclusion zone for maritime traffic and opted to head south, but as they approached the end of the area, the wind dropped and the distance between the leaders and MAPFRE dwindled to little over a mile. Four miles from the finish and Iker Martinez’s crew were just two miles behind Bekking and the Brunel crew, whilst Dongfeng were left stranded without breeze.
Quite simply anything was possible. In a radio interview with Fran Vignale, MAPFRE’s onboard reporter, he explained how the team were heading to the entrance of the River Tajo, but there was still a great chance they would be left without wind. Past experiences in previous races meant the team had the anchor ready. A provision which finally proved unnecessary.
The wind finally picked up and Brunel set off and finished Leg 7 in first place. MAPFRE managed to hang on to their second until the finish line.
Boat speed and the Azores High fundamental
Back on land the MAPFRE crew were in good spirits, although “Ñeti” Cuervas-Mons admitted that, “The only boat we didn't want to beat us has done just that, so it’s a little bitter-sweet to be honest, but it’s a good position and obviously great for the team.”
For the Spanish team the key to the leg was negotiating the Azores High, “Three boats were very close coming through the anticyclone, so from then on it was all about boat speed and handling. That’s where it was decided and where Brunel did a really good job,” explained Iker Martinez.
His team mate Xabi Fernández added, “it was where the leg was at stake. After the Azores High it was a speed race.”
A tight leaderboard
The results of the leg mean the overall classification is getting even more interesting. MAPFRE moves up into fourth place with 26 points and could reach the final podium if they can eliminate the four points separating them from Brunel (third). Alvimedica drops down into fifth place.
Leaders Abu Dhabi finished Leg 7 in fifth place,a first non-podium finish, whilst Dongfeng were fourth. There is now just five points between the two teams, and Brunel is hot on their heels.
With two more legs and 14 points at stake, nothing is definite and the last 1600 miles will prove decisive.
Cuervas-Mons was clear to forewarn, “We are still very much alive and kicking and will keep fighting for a finish on the podium in Gothenburg.”
Photo : © Maria Muiña/ MAPFRE