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Volvo Ocean Race: MAPFRE fourth into Newport, two miles off the podium
The Spanish team fought until the very end for a podium finish and to overtake Brunel. After 5800 miles (10,741.6 km), they were just 37 minutes away from third place.

Newport (USA), 7th March 2015

After 17 days, 10 hours, 34 minutes and 25 seconds, MAPFRE finished Leg Six of the Volvo Ocean Race early this morning (UTC). After the last few thrilling miles, which actually reflected the pace of the entire leg, the Spanish boat, skippered by Olympic Champion Xabi Fernández, crossed the finish line in Newport (United States) 37 minutes and 45 seconds behind the Dutch team Brunel (third). The sheer equality of the monotypes was once again quite evident, with the first four teams crossing the finish line within an hour and a half of each other, a true feat after racing 5800 nautical miles.

This fourth place in the leg leaves the Spanish team three points off the podium in the overall classification. “We are now going to have a fight on our hands with Brunel (third), as we already expected, and with Alvimedica (fourth) as well. Keeping the final podium in Gothenburg (last port in this edition of the race) in mind, it is really good to have finished ahead of them,” declared Xabi Fernández, on board MAPFRE on arrival.

Once again, a neck and neck finish
The keynote in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, which for the first time has a fleet of entirely equal boats, is their extreme equality; evident in each of the leg finishes so far, where practically the whole fleet has been finishing within minutes, or little over an hour, of each other. Leg Six was no exception.

100 miles from the finish line, the tension was palpable with the first and second boats - Dongfeng and Abu Dhabi- just a mile apart.

Fernández’s crew managed to open up a gap in front of their close rivals Alvimedica, whilst moving to within just 12 miles of Brunel (in third). At 60 miles from the finish line they reduced the distance to half - just 6.7 miles. On reaching Block Island, off the coast of Newport, the leading boats dramatically slowed giving MAPFRE, with a little more speed, the chance to reduce this distance down to a mere three miles of the Dutch team, and six from the two leaders.

Dongfeng and Abu Dhabi continued their own private battle up front, which was finally claimed by the Chinese team, the official winners of the leg at 4.03am Spanish time, and just three minutes and 25 seconds ahead of Ian Walker’s team - leaders of the overall classification.

The tough battle between the Dutch and Spanish boats persisted and despite closing the gap down to just two miles from Brunel, MAPFRE were unable to overtake them. At 3:34am UTC MAPFRE crossed the finish line in fourth place, adding four points to the leaderboard.
“The leg was almost 18 days long, and we’ve seen a little bit of everything. We started off really well the whole first week. Half-way through we had a week where we didn't choose the right sails and lost miles because of it. Then last week we were sailing really well again, and kept coming back from behind, but as you know, the equality of the fleet here means that in the end there are four boats finishing the leg within an hour and a half of each other. We were very close but it was impossible to pass them. Once again the boats are incredibly equal and there is not much between one boat or another being on the podium” concluded Basque skipper Xabi Fernández.

Photo : © María Muiña / MAPFRE
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