Puma Takes Inshore Title As Groupma Celebrates Overall Victory
A PUMA team decked out in Irish rugby shirts rounded off the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 in style on Saturday, securing victory in the In-Port Race series with a win on the waters of Galway on a day that saw Groupama celebrate overall success in sailing's toughest challenge.
Ken Read’s team scored a commanding first place in the Discover Ireland In-Port Race, their ninth podium finish of the 10-race inshore series and a first victory.
An electrifying scrap for second between CAMPER and Groupama saw the two teams virtually inseparable right to the end of the 8.2-nautical mile course with Chris Nicholson's team stealing the runners-up prize on the day, and in the series as a whole.
A last-minute comeback from Telefónica saw them steal the final podium position from Groupama on Saturday, but fourth was enough to give the French team third overall in the inshore series.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing finished fifth ahead of Team Sanya.
“It tastes very sweet,” said PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG skipper Ken Read who punched the air in delight as he steered Mar Mostro over the finish line.
“To race against the best sailors in the world and come out on top is all we can ask for.”
A third place in the inshore series rounded off a fantastic Volvo Ocean Race debut for Franck Cammas' crew on Groupama 4, cementing their reputation as one of the slickest teams in the race in whether racing offshore or around a short course.
“For sure it is a big dream – it's a great feeling for everyone,” Cammas said ahead of a special prize-giving which will see him hold up the newly designed Volvo Ocean Race Trophy. “We did not expect it so it's a big surprise, but it's a good one.
“I think the secret was that we were outsiders at the beginning and we were forced to learn all the time. We had to learn to race against the best crews in the world and eventually it got easier. We made mistakes at the start but all the time we tried to get better, right until the finish in Galway.”
The thousands of spectators who turned out in force to watch the grand finale were treated to a thrilling start, with CAMPER and Abu Dhabi leading through the downwind line as the fleet split towards the first mark in 12 to 16 knots from the north north-west.
Both teams picked the right-hand side along with Telefónica, but it was the boats in the other group – PUMA and overall race winners Groupama sailing team – who led round the first mark.
A penalty for obstructing Sanya saw Ian Walker's Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew relegated to sixth, as PUMA, Groupama and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand fought it out at the head of the fleet.
By the fourth mark the PUMA crew had eked out a 26-second lead, challenging Groupama and CAMPER to pull out something special to catch them.
Meanwhile Sanya and Telefónica locked horns in pursuit of fourth while Abu Dhabi tried to reduce the huge deficit caused by their penalty.
Driven to score their first in-port win, there was no stopping PUMA as a flawless performance saw them extended their lead, holding on to take the win around the 8.2 nautical mile course by one minute and 19 seconds and secure the overall in-port title.
CAMPER's second in the inshore series rounded off a successful Volvo Ocean Race campaign which also saw them take second in the overall rankings.
“This race is the easiest race in the world to lose,” said skipper Nicholson, “so to be runner up when we've had quite a few troubles on the way is great. We've shown a lot of character along the way.”
The 2011-12 edition was always tipped to be the closest edition in 39 years of the event and it didn't disappoint.
Groupama, the first French team to compete since Eric Tabarly's La Poste crew in 1993-94, finally secured victory with a second-place finish in Leg 9 from Lorient to Galway.
Telefónica, led by Spanish Olympic gold medallist Iker Martínez, won the first three legs but a string of disappointing results saw them finish in fourth overall.
The next edition of the race will start in 2014 and will be raced in 65ft one-design boats from Farr Yacht Design.
Results of Discover Ireland In-Port Race, Galway:
1. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG 53 minutes 12 seconds
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand + 1:19
3. Team Telefónica: + 1:56
4. Groupama sailing team: + 2:29
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing: +4:00
6. Team Sanya: +4:32
Groupma Completes Victory In Closests Ever Volvo Ocean Race After Epic Eight-Month Journey
Groupama crossed the finish line in the pitch black Galway night to secure a remarkable overall victory in their debut Volvo Ocean Race campaign and finally settle the closest contest in the event’s 39-year history.
While CAMPER were celebrating victory in the ninth and final leg, Groupama skipper Franck Cammas led his team home in second place to take an unassailable 24-point lead with just one in-port race to go.
Cammas, the 39-year-old Frenchman, threw his arms up and pumped his fists in the air while tens of thousands of fans gathered on the dock of Galway Bay to roar home the team -- including Irishman Damian Foxall -- to a remarkable victory in their first appearance in the race.
For CAMPER, notching up their first leg win of the race was a longed-for achievement and it all but guarantees they will finish second overall. PUMA, in third place on the night, will finish behind them in third overall unless CAMPER somehow fail to complete Saturday’s In-Port Race and PUMA go on to win it.
But the night belonged to Groupama as they reaped the benefits of exhaustive preparation and more than eight months of the most extreme ocean racing.
Not since Lionel Péan skippered L’Esprit d’Equipe to victory in 1985-86 has a French team tasted glory in sailing’s toughest challenge.
"This is an incredible moment for me," Cammas said. "It was always my dream just to participate in this race. The first book I ever read was about the Whitbread. It has been an incredible day for me and it hasn't sunk in yet.
"Without any doubt this is the best (thing I've done). This is the longest and the hardest event to win. It started badly but every one of us raised our level."
The team overcame a stream of challenges during the epic race including a testing first leg, disappointing results in the early in-port races and the loss of their mast in Leg 5.
Despite the setbacks, Cammas and his crew continued to improve, pulling back from a 28-point deficit after the Sanya Haitang Bay In-Port Race to take their first offshore win in Leg 4, arriving into Auckland first despite the discovery of a serious crack in the hull within 100 miles of the line. They finally usurped long-term race leaders Telefónica from the top of the standings at the end of Leg 7.
Subsequent wins in the Oeiras In-Port Race in Lisbon, Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient and the Bretagne In-Port Race only served to cement their position at the top of the leaderboard and bolster the team’s confidence heading into the final two scoring opportunities.
Despite going into the final 550 nautical mile leg from Lorient to Lisbon with a 25-point margin over second-placed PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, overall victory was far from guaranteed as the six boats set sail from Groupama’s home port of Lorient bound for Galway.
With early race leaders Telefónica looking to recover the form that saw them win the first three offshore legs, PUMA wanting to better their second-place overall finish in the 2008-09 race and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand itching to score their first offshore win, the pressure was on the frontrunners from the off.
But with breezy reaching forecast for the sprint out of the Bay of Biscay and across the Celtic Sea, conditions in which the team’s Volvo Open 70 Groupama 4 excels, they were always going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Groupama only needed to finish fourth to secure overall victory but they went two better, seeing off challenges through wild conditions in the English Channel and around the iconic Fastnet Rock, to finish second across the line at 00:49:11 UTC, seven minutes behind CAMPER, and seal their place in the history books as race winners.
"Even before we sarted this last leg I knew we were going to win it," CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson said. " It's been a privilege and I'm proud to have been part of this team. I look at what everyone does day in day out and I think this is the sailing team’s way of saying thank you."
PUMA finished in third at 00:55:01 UTC ahead of Team Telefónica, who finished at 00:59:33 UTC.
At 0200 UTC Sanya were around 10 miles from the line, with a narrow lead over Abu Dhabi.
Six points will be up for grabs for first place, five for second, four for third and so on when the final in-port race of the epic 39,000 nautical mile ocean race takes place on July 7.
Volvo Car Corporation part of major European study that reveals:
New safety technology reduces the risk of motorway rear-end impacts by up to 42 percent
The final report from the EuroFOT research project, which has brought together 28 European companies and organisations, confirms that Volvo Car Corporation's systems to help drivers avoid incidents and collisions deliver significant benefits.
A car with adaptive cruise control and collision warning, for instance, cuts the risk of colliding with the vehicle in front on a motorway by up to 42 percent.
The large-scale European Field Operational Test on Active Safety Systems (EuroFOT) is a research project supported by European funds. It involves 28 organisations, including Swedish participants Volvo Car Corporation, Volvo Trucks and Chalmers University of Technology.
100 Volvo V70 and XC70 models with a total of 263 drivers participated in EuroFOT. All cars were fitted with cameras and sensors that registered every second of every journey for 18 months, which meant that every little incident and situation could be studied and evaluated.
These cars supplied Volvo Car Corporation's safety experts with 30 terra bytes of data from 3 million kilometres of driving. The final report from EuroFOT also includes material from other vehicle manufacturers.
"The analyses show that our world-leading focus on new safety and support technologies delivers results in everyday traffic conditions. Since the start of EuroFOT, we have presented a number of new systems and in addition refined already existing technologies. One example is Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, which alerts the driver and automatically brakes the car if there is a pedestrian in the road," says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Car Corporation.
Analysis of five technologies
Analysis of the Volvos used in EuroFOT focused on five technological solutions:
- ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) maintains a preset gap to the vehicle in front.
- CW (Collision Warning) alerts the driver if a collision of colliding with the vehicle in front is imminent. At the same time, the brakes are prepared for firm braking.
- BLIS (Blind Sport Information System) alerts the driver to vehicles in the blind spots on both sides of the car.
- LDW (Lane Departure Warning) warns the driver if the vehicle accidently strays across any of the lane markings.
- DAC (Driver Alert Control) is designed to detect and warn if the driver is tired or distracted.
Increased safety with cruise control and collision warning
The final report from EuroFOT clearly shows that adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning enhance traffic safety. The benefits are greatest on the motorway, where the risk of driving into the vehicle in front is cut by up to 42 percent.
Adaptive Cruise Control is used on the motorway for more than 51 percent of the total distance covered - which confirms that the system is appreciated by drivers. 80 percent of them feel that progress on the road is more comfortable and convenient, and a massive 94 percent feel safer with the system activated.
When it comes to collision warning, 70 percent of the drivers feel that it improves the level of safety. One participant in the study, for instance, says: "Thanks to the warning system, a couple of times I managed to avoid being involved in an accident when the vehicles in front suddenly slammed on their brakes".
Positive trend for other technologies as well
As regards the other warning systems, which focus on tired drivers, lane keeping and vehicles in the blind spot, the trend is also positive. However, there is not yet enough data to provide statistically significant forecasts of the accident risk reduction.
"This is because the number of incidents is relatively small. The emergency situations we have had are identified and examined, however, reveal that drivers do note and respond to the alerts. In tiredness incidents that led to alerts, the driver recovered control over the vehicle before the situation became serious," says John-Fredrik Grönvall, Manager Traffic Accident Research at Volvo Car Corporation.
The EuroFOT participants confirm that the Driver Alert Control actually works. One of them comments: "I was exhausted after a hectic workday that stretched into late evening. I'm really glad the system alerted me in time."
Valuable contribution to the development of safer cars
"Both the comprehensive studies of driver behaviour and the wide range of comments from the drivers involved are very valuable in our research. We design our cars in response to customer wishes and needs. The results from EuroFOT help us develop new, user-friendly and effective technologies that bring us closer to our goal of no injuries or fatalities in a new Volvo car in 2020," says Peter Mertens.
For more information about EuroFOT: www.eurofot-ip.eu