Volvo Ocean Race: Podium for MAPFRE in the last leg
The ninth leg, which finished today in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, bids farewell to the offshore legs of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Spanish team claims their fourth podium position in this edition of the race, by overtaking Donfeng in the last mile up to line, to finish in third place.
Gothenburg (Sweden), 22nd June 2015
After nearly nine months and over 38,000 miles (over 70,300km), the last leg of the Volvo Ocean Race finished in Gothenburg, Sweden. Light breezes meant a slow finish to the leg on the fleet’s final approach. MAPFRE bids the race farewell in good spirits with an exciting finish, claiming third place on the last mile of the leg. Having held on tight the Spanish team found the perfect gust of wind to propel them to a podium position.
Once again three boats: MAPFRE, Dongfeng and Brunel, were battling for a podium position whilst Alvimedica held onto their sound and insurmountable lead.
Many had already laid their bets on the podium winners, when the last approach into the channel and up to the finish line began to heat up. MAPFRE managed to pick up a breeze after tacking at exactly the right moment whilst Donfeng were left without wind. Iker Martínez and his crew were finally able to overtake the Chinese boat.
“The end of the leg was a little like Maradona’s hand of god,” joked Iker, “We always have to fight right up to the end, and whether things are going well or not, we never give up until it’s over. After so many miles we were able to overtake Dongfeng in the last mile because the wind dropped for them. It was a stroke of luck that we picked up some breeze and could make the most of it,” he explained.
Meanwhile MAPFRE were able to move closer to Brunel, who also accelerated with a gust to lead them to second place, four minutes and 49 seconds ahead of the Spanish team who claimed third place form Lorient to Gothenburg after sailing four days, nine hours, 29 minutes and seven seconds.
Ñeti Cuervas-Mons recognised on arrival that, “We have finished third, which is a podium position, and that is always the team’s objective, but I don’t think these kind of legs really show what the round the world race is. At the end you are fighting for a podium position for the whole race based on a gust of wind inside a channel which measures just 50 to 100 metres across.”
Even so, for Iker Martínez the position was a wonderful way for the team to finish,
“The end was really exciting for many reasons. Firstly, because when the race is over there is always a feeling of sadness, but it is also happiness because when you start a project you do it wanting to finish. To get to the end with the boat and the whole crew is already a huge success. We are now much more competitive and a much better team than when we finished the first leg. That alone means that we should feel really satisfied,” concluded the skipper.
The last coastal race on Saturday
On Saturday 27th June the competition will draw to its end with the last inshore race, which will decide fourth place on the overall leaderboard. MAPFRE and Alvimedica are currently drawn on 34 points. The classification of the coastal race will decide which team finishes the race in fourth place.
“We now have to think of the future, which is next Saturday,” said Iker, “We have to fight for fourth place in the overall classification, so we will continue to stay focussed.”
The winners of the Volvo Ocean Race were Abu Dhabi, skippered by Ian Walker.
Photo : © María Muiña/MAPFRE