Rivalries Rekindled As PUMA Leads Fleet On Leg 6 To Miami
The battle for overall victory in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 intensified on Sunday with the teams resuming their bids for supremacy as the sixth of nine legs got underway from Itajaí, Brazil, with PUMA at the front of the pack.
Just 32 points separate the top four teams as the fleet set sail for Miami -- and with 30 points up for grabs for a leg win, the race is still wide open.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG enjoyed the psychological advantage of leading the fleet around the short inshore course and out into the Atlantic but with 4,800 miles to sail, any of the five teams racing in Leg 6 could see victory come their way.
A win in Saturday's DHL In-Port Race Itajaí saw Groupama sailing team close the gap to overall frontrunners Team Telefónica to just 16 points, while CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand’s second-place finish moved them to within 25 points of the leaders.
PUMA, just seven points behind CAMPER in fourth overall and with the incentive of racing to their home country, are also in the hunt after notching up yet another podium result in yesterday’s inshore battle.
Riding on the high of winning Leg 5, PUMA skipper Ken Read said his crew were ready to get back to the race course.
“I don’t want to jinx the fleet but it looks like we could have some really nice sailing,” Read said. “It’s potentially the first leg of this race that we can say that.
“It looks like we might get some downwind sailing out of Itajaí, we might get some nice trade wind sailing, and maybe some consistent wave patterns.
“Everyone’s really psyched to go do some nice sailing.”
Groupama skipper Franck Cammas, who has already tasted offshore victory in Leg 4, said he had high hopes for success in Leg 6.
“We can enjoy this leg a lot -- it has a lot of good conditions, a lot of reaching conditions,” he said. “It’s good for the crew, it’s good for the boat. I think we can manage our Volvo Open 70 very well in these conditions.”
Despite a disappointing result in the DHL In-Port Race Itajaí, Iker Martínez’s Telefónica are the form team offshore with three leg wins from five.
“I hope this is going to be another good leg for us,” Martínez said. “It looks like it’s going to be interesting from beginning to end so we’ll just have to see what the next few weeks hold.
“I’m very confident. The boat is even better than it was in New Zealand. We can’t ask for more.”
The Leg 6 start also saw a welcome return to offshore racing for Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who had to ship their yacht to Itajaí after it was damaged in the Southern Ocean.
The boat only arrived in Brazil on Thursday and the team’s shore crew worked round the clock to give Walker’s men a chance to compete for their first offshore leg win.
“Everything we know about is fully under control, so let’s hope there aren’t any things we don’t know about,” Walker said.
Leg 6 is littered with challenges including tropical weather systems, strong currents, sweltering heat and the dreaded Doldrums.
The first few days of the race could be crucial as the crews negotiate a potentially violent low pressure system lying in wait in the South Brazil Bight.
From there on in the sailing should mostly be downwind in moderate conditions -- although the teams will always be at risk from South Atlantic squalls.
The crews must also take on the Doldrums, a constantly-moving area of low pressure found a few hundred miles either side of the Equator, notorious for being one of the toughest regions on the planet to sail through.
Once into the northern hemisphere they will face tough tactical decisions, trading off distance for speed in the sprint past the Caribbean to the finish line.
The boats are expected to arrive in Miami around May 6.
Team Sanya, who pulled out of Leg 5 with boat damage, will rejoin the fleet in Miami after carrying out repairs in Savannah.
Volvo Car Corporation at the Beijing Auto Show:
Launch of the Volvo V60 and Volvo V40 boosts Volvo Car Corporation's growth towards 200,000 cars in China
Volvo Car Corporation is one of the fastest growing luxury car brands in China - and the journey towards selling 200,000 cars per year in the world's most dynamic car market continues in 2012. "The introduction of the Volvo V60 and the all-new Volvo V40 will help us maintain the desired growth momentum," says Freeman Shen, Senior Vice President Volvo Car China Operations.
Last year Volvo Car Corporation sold over 47,000 cars in China, an increase of more than 55 percent compared with 2010. At the Beijing Auto Show, Volvo Car Corporation presents two valuable additions to the company's model line-up.
Combining luxury, fun and functionality
The Volvo V60 is a luxurious, sporty and exciting-to-drive Sports Activity Vehicle for customers who understand and appreciate both fun and functionality.
"In addition to a great driving experience the Volvo V60 offers the owner rational functionality, the opportunity to enjoy life together with friends and family. It is a perfect choice for true car enthusiasts," says Freeman Shen. He adds:
"The all-new Volvo V40 is a premium hatchback that offers the same virtues as the V60 - in a slightly more compact package. It has an outstanding, beautiful design and it is charged with sophisticated features you normally have to buy a large car to get."
Second home market
China is Volvo Car Corporation's second home market. The company's full-fledged business operations in Shanghai include product development, design, purchasing and staff support functions.
"We are also expanding our retailer network and our industrial system to provide a growing number of Chinese buyers with Scandinavian luxury cars, accompanied by first-class service and hospitality. Our recruitment continues with more talented people joining us. Currently we have close to 800 employees working for Volvo Car Corporation in China." says Freeman Shen.
A Volvo manufacturing plant in Chengdu is the next step in Volvo Car Corporation's ambitious industrial strategy. This new plant will be up and running in the second half of 2013 and will have a production capacity of more than 100,000 cars per year.
"Our co-operation with New York Knicks' rising basketball star Jeremy Lin is another milestone in the continuous strengthening of our brand position in China. As our new Brand Ambassador, Jeremy Lin will participate in corporate and marketing activities. He will also appear in advertising," concludes Freeman Shen.
Volvo Car Corporation presents the Volvo XC60 Inscription - a unique blend of luxury and dynamic capability
The Volvo XC60 now also becomes available in the exclusive Inscription version - designed around customers who want to add an extra luxurious, personal touch to the dynamic XC capability.
The Inscription buyer can choose between four colors on the seats, fully upholstered in fine semi-aniline quality leather. The XC60 Inscription package also includes several other distinctive interior features and the possibility to spice up the curb appeal with additional options like the charcoal headliner, special effect paint and 20-inch wheels.
"Many consumers we talk to have very exclusive, individual tastes. The Inscription version is designed around their preferences, by offering the opportunity to give the XC60 a highly personal touch," says Doug Speck, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Car Corporation.
The XC60 Inscription customer has a choice of four upholsteries in full semi-aniline leather: Marble White, Toscana Tan, Off-black and Soft Beige. They are accompanied by either an Off-black or Sandstone Beige interior.
The XC60 Inscription package also includes:
- Headrests front with embroidered Inscription logo.
- Center console armrest in leather with stitching.
- Door panel insert matching color of the upholstery.
- Tread plates with Inscription logo.
- Electrically adjustable lumbar support.
Extended Inscription offer
The customer can further personalize the XC60 with additional options: Inscription Charcoal headliner, Inscription Electric Silver exterior color or Inscription Avior 20'' wheels.
"The XC60 was our top-selling model in 2011 with almost 100,000 units delivered to customers all over the globe. The Inscription version makes our offer even stronger. The exclusive details blended with the dynamic XC capability give the XC60 a truly unique aura," says Doug Speck.
The Inscription version can be combined with all the engine options available for the Volvo XC60. It will be shown for the first time at the Leipzig Motor Show in June 2012 and sales start already in April 2012. The XC60 Inscription is available worldwide with local adaptations.