Heroic Homecoming For Groupama, Puma Replace Heartbroken Telefonica In Second
Groupama completed a heroic comeback victory on Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Friday, strengthening their grip on the overall standings and realising a dream homecoming to Lorient – while Telefónica suffered a cruel twist of fate that allowed PUMA to move into second overall.
Just two days ago Groupama were back in fourth struggling to catch up after spending more than two hours trying to free their jammed mainsail, with bowman Brad Marsh having to climb the 31-metre mast three times in storm conditions.
But once again Franck Cammas’ crew showed off their blistering pace, hauling back their rivals to climb up to second going into the final 24 hours -- and when Telefónica saw their hopes dashed by a second broken rudder 12 hours from the finish they were left unchallenged in terms of pace.
The win sees them take a maximum 30 points to move on to a total of 219, bolstering their position at the top of the overall leaderboard with just one leg and two in-port races left.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand took a strong second in the leg while PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG came home in third to take over as Groupama’s main challengers, 23 points behind them.
CAMPER are five points further back on 191 points. Telefónica will join them on 191 if they go on to finish ahead of Team Sanya in fifth.
An army of French fans turned out to give Groupama an ecstatic welcome back to their home port and celebrate their second leg victory of the race.
"It's a very good feeling for me and for the crew," said Cammas, who steered his team across the line at 1131 UTC, for an elapsed time of 4d 23h 31m 02s. "It was a short leg but it was very hard. Last night was very complicated and we took a lot of risks but finally they paid off.
"This was a dream we had 10 months ago and we're realising that dream now. We still have one leg to go and it's important to do well, but tonight we can have a good night."
Just under an hour after Groupama finished, CAMPER crossed the line to take second place, with PUMA claiming third just 15 minutes later.
“We were back a bit during this leg and we knew it would be tough to get out to the Azores with all the jib reaching, but then we knew there would be some chances in the low pressure,” said skipper Chris Nicholson.
“When you find yourself in 45-50 knots you’re just trying to make it through in one piece – forget about the results, you just want to make it through the night, and we did with good speed.”
PUMA skipper Ken Read said he was happy to see his team notch up their 10th successive podium finish of the race, including in-port races, but that he was conscious of Groupama extending their overall lead further.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “We didn’t sail our best leg to be honest -- we made some mistakes. Slipping up on CAMPER at the end was disappointing, but I give them credit for taking advantage of the one little slip up we made.
“I hope I’m wrong but I have a feeling we’ve seen the opportunity to win this race slipping away. That’s a big 10 points that they just amassed over us.”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing missed out on a podium position by less than two hours, finishing in fourth at 1417 UTC.
Meanwhile, the reality of seeing his Leg 8 dreams dashed was sinking in for Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez.
"The mood on board is as good as it can be in circumstances like these, as we have just seen any chance of us winning this round the world regatta slip away," he said. "It's like two years work just disappearing into thin air in a matter of minutes - what a mess. Now I'll be happy if we all get to shore without any further problems."
Wild conditions continued to dominate in the final sprint for the finish line, as seen in this incredible video from on board CAMPER.
Despite being the shortest of the legs so far at under 2,000 nautical miles, Leg 8 from Lisbon, Portugal, to Lorient, France, threw up numerous challenges.
The fleet had to negotiate the light, tricky winds of the Azores High as they approached the waypoint of São Miguel, while in the latter stages winds got up to more than 40 knots in a violent North Atlantic storm.
Just 48 hours from the finish, Groupama faced a potentially dangerous situation as they tried to reduce sail area in preparation for gale-force winds.
The sail got jammed at the top of the mast leaving Marsh to carry out some mid-sea heroics, climbing to the top of the mast three times in winds of well over 20 knots and rough seas.
After two hours of repairs, Marsh’s skills kept the French team in the race and they only lost out 20 miles to the fleet.
Leg 8 also produced record-breaking 24-hour runs, with CAMPER setting the top distance of the race so far of 565 miles.
Telefónica are expected to cross the finish line at 2000 UTC, with Team Sanya due to finish at 2200 UTC.
Volvo S60 Polestar to be shown at the next Swedish TTA Race in Gothenburg
Polestar will present a performance concept road car, based on the Volvo S60 platform, at the next round of the Swedish TTA - Racing Elite League. Officially named Volvo S60 Polestar, it will be shown on 16th June at the third round of the new racing series, held at Polestar's home track in downtown Gothenburg, Sweden.
"The performance concept road-car is a spin-off of our work evaluating and developing the S60 for racing." says Polestar Marketing Director Hans Bååth.
When the Volvo C30 Polestar was presented in 2010, it gained a massive global interest and Polestar was flooded with requests from people interested in buying the car. The first Polestar concept-car was however not designed with production in mind and, at the time, Polestar was also in the midst of campaigning the Volvo C30 WTCC in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The first S60 Polestar is built for one of the most eager bidders for the original C30 Polestar.
"Whether there will be more cars built is an open question. First of all we want to get feedback on this first prototype." Bååth continues.
In 2011, Volvo decided to switch its race-car entry from the C30 to the S60 model. Polestar then started an intense research and evaluation-program to collect and compile vehicle data from the S60 platform. The final decision on what racing class to enter was yet to be taken and Polestar needed to learn as much as possible about the S60's built-in characteristics.
Jan Andersson, responsible for complete vehicle development at Polestar explains: "What we found was another very strong Volvo with great potential for motorsport applications and also an almost ideal platform for a road-going performance car. Volvo's engineers are known around the world for their achievements in car and traffic safety. What is less widely understood is that strong and safe cars also make great platforms for motorsport and performance."
Polestar has co-operated with Volvo since 1996 and has to date successfully raced five different Volvo models starting with the Volvo 850. Volvo bodies are strong and solid designs, built to withstand extreme forces straight from the factory which make them ideal for building race cars. While in the S60 TTA car, almost every single part is designed and manufactured for racing purposes only, the Volvo S60 Polestar is to a great extent based on standard Volvo S60 T6 components.
Derek Crabb, Motorsport Director at Volvo Cars: "The car we present is yet another result of our close co-operation where Polestar's motorsport and performance experience is combined with Volvo's in-depth knowledge about the car and its technology."
Exact specifications of the car will be revealed at the official launch at the Gothenburg City Arena.
U.S. Students Take Third Place At Volvo Adventure Awards In Gothenburg
Students from around the world came together to share their vision of a greener future with UNESCO at the Volvo Adventure Awards in Gothenburg
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (June 12, 2012) -- Students from all over the world united in Gothenburg at the Volvo Adventure Awards to battle it out to be crowned winner of the world-class environmental education program. After experiencing tough competition across more than 45 countries, just 12 teams remained to fight for the coveted Volvo Adventure Award. Working in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the award gives the young and environmentally aware a voice to gain recognition and support for their life-changing ideas.
The U.S. team, comprised of five students from Pontiac, Ill. and North Freedom, Wis., took third place after an intense two day competition with their initiative, "The National Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program". The ultimate winners were the team from Paraguay with the Brazilian team taking second place. Other competition included the UK, China, Croatia, Egypt, Fiji, Russia, Tanzania, Turkey and Macedonia.
Throughout 2012, prescription drug disposal has been a hot topic in the U.S. P2D2 is a group of teenagers who wanted to make a difference. They organized a drug collection program dedicated to keeping the water systems of their communities safe from damage caused by the improper disposal of medication. The team raised awareness by using local government and media outlets, and provided communities with permanent disposal containers and incinerators. The team has even passed a bill to make its efforts permanent, which is currently running in over 22 states. To date, they have prevented over 600,000 pounds of drugs from contaminating our precious environment.
The legacy of the Volvo Adventure Awards goes far beyond its timeframe - throughout the years, youth groups carry on with their school projects and ignite lasting change. In 2008, Team TGIF from Rhode Island in the USA promoted the recycling of cooking grease to refine in to bio fuel. Since then, more than 120,000 gallons of wasted cooking oil was collected which produced about 100,000 gallons of biodiesel. The students drafted a waste cooking oil recycling law and had it passed in July 2011.
This unique competition brings together children from across social, economic and cultural divides, each of whom has identified ways in which to improve their communities, from inner cities to deserted islands. Apart from taking home the ultimate prize, this event unites young people who will potentially achieve something many politicians can't - change.