Puma Holds Off Telfonica For Epic Leg 5 Win!
PUMA held firm in the face of a relentless attack from Telefónica to clinch an epic Leg 5 victory on Friday, crossing the finish line in Itajaí, Brazil with a winning margin of just 12 minutes after the Spanish team had threatened to complete one of the great sporting comebacks.
After more then 7,500 nautical miles of racing from Auckland, starting with a first-night battering as bad as any in the race’s history and on through brutal conditions in the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn, PUMA’s Mar Mostro finished in brilliant sunshine at 19:09:51 UTC.
Telefónica, who had been a constant threat to them, followed her in at 19:22:29 UTC for a second place that strengthens their position as overall leaders with five of nine offshore legs now complete.
Both boats were roared home by dozens of spectator boats and thousands of fans lining every possible viewing position on the way in.
It was an extraordinary finish to the battle for first place in a leg that saw five of the six boats forced to stop for repairs.
Telefónica were 400 nm behind the leaders when they resumed racing following a pit stop to work on structural damage to their boat. They quickly began to reduce that gap and when Groupama sailing team were forced out following a dismasting they were suddenly in a two-way battle for first.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG score 30 points for their win, taking their total to 113 points. It means they are just 34 points behind overall leaders Team Telefónica, despite having been forced to retire from Leg 1 because of a broken mast.
Groupama will reduce the Telefónica lead to 20 points if they complete the leg in third place under jury rig, as planned.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, currently carrying out repairs in Puerto Montt in Chile, can get back to within 28 points if they complete the leg in fourth.
As it became clear that PUMA were doing enough to hold off Telefónica, the team's Media Crew Member Amory Ross handed out chocolate treats to the crew, before skipper Ken Read took back the helm to take his team over the finish line.
"We've never seen such an amazing welcome," said an overwhelmed looking Read, who took time to sympathise with his five rivals and their problems over the course of the leg.
"I've never done such a tough offshore leg in my life. It's been pretty intense. Our hearts go out to the crews who have suffered damage. We know what that's like and it's even worse when it's in a place like the Southern Ocean."
Telefónica had been written off after suspending racing for 17 hours for structural repairs inside the Cabo de Hornos National Park on March 31. The team resumed racing at 2133 that same day, more than 400 nm behind the leaders.
Nevertheless, a powerful South Atlantic front that rose from the south propelled Telefónica to within striking range of PUMA within days. Anxiety levels were rising on board PUMA, even after Groupama’s dismasting on April 4, but Read’s men were able to steel their nerves in a long match-race to the finish line for their first leg victory in this edition.
PUMA have had a steady rise since the devastating blow of their broken mast on Leg 1. In the past four scoring events PUMA have finished second three times and now first, with real momentum with the American-based team as they head towards Leg 6 to Miami in the United States.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will ship their boat to Itajaí for Leg 6, while Sanya will rejoin the race in Miami after losing a rudder while leading earlier on Leg 5.
Tough At The Top As Groupama Dismasts
Groupama’s dismasting while in the lead earlier today leaves PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read/USA) with only Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) able to challenge them for the lead in the final stage of what has been a dramatic Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí.
With 677 nautical miles (nm) to go to the finish line, Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) dismasted 60 nm south of Punta del Este, the Uruguayan port that has hosted the Whitbread Race [the forerunner of the Volvo Ocean Race] on three occasions. The team held a narrow lead of about 2.2 nm over PUMA at the time and was sailing close-hauled on port tack when the rig broke, level with the first spreader, about 10 metres above the deck.
The team has not requested assistance but temporarily suspended racing at 1542 GMT. They are considering either continuing the 677 nm under jury rig to the finish in Itajaí, Brazil, or making for Punta del Este where they could step a replacement mast. The team’s spare rig is currently warehoused in the Netherlands.
The Telefónica crew, who were about 46 nm astern of Groupama at the time of the dismasting, reported a very complicated swell as the wind increased this afternoon. At the time, PUMA and Groupama were two thirds of the way across the 120-nm Rio de la Plata estuary, which separates Argentina from Uruguay. After the intensity and enjoyment of close-contact racing, PUMA will now go it alone as Telefónica has chosen a course just shy of 200 nm offshore and has developed 137 nm of lateral separation to leeward. At 1900 GMT tonight, they had closed to within 36.7 nm of PUMA and were sailing two knots faster.
Meanwhile, work has begun on CAMPER in Puerto Montt, Chile and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has entered the quiet waters of the Golfo Corcovado and are making their way to join CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand. Both boats have suffered structural damage, which has caused them to seek a safe haven in Puerto Montt. CAMPER suspended racing at 0130 GMT on Tuesday, but fully intends to complete Leg 5, while Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who retired from Leg 5 at 1000 GMT today, will ship their boat to Itajaí.
Volvo's City Safety Technology Drives Down Chauffeur Company's At Fault Rear Impact Accidents By 28%
- Volvo's City Safety technology helps chauffeur company, Tristar, improve customer safety and reduce vehicle-off-road costs
- Tristar's rear impact accidents, where the driver was at fault have decreased by 28% in the first six months of trialling City Safety
- From Spring 2012, it is planned that all of Tristar's Volvo fleet will be fitted with City Safety*
Volvo has helped high profile chauffeur company, Tristar Worldwide, meet its goal of improving customer safety and driving down vehicle-off-road costs by dramatically reducing its at fault accident rates and associated costs in the first six months of trialling Volvo's revolutionary City Safety technology.
The award winning technology, which acts as an additional pair of eyes in heavy traffic, helping drivers avoid collisions at low speeds, has contributed to a 28% drop in Tristar's rear impact accidents, where one of its drivers has been at fault - and that's just since September 2011.
Tristar's newest V70, XC70 and S80 models are all fitted with City Safety as standard and help keep its Virgin Atlantic Airways' Upper Class customers safe when chauffeuring them to and from the airport.
The chauffeur company has been so impressed with City Safety, it believes it has the potential to further decrease its rear impact statistics by up to 50% once all its models are fitted with the technology.
City Safety works by keeping watch on vehicles in front with the help of a laser sensor built into the windscreen at the height of the rear-view mirror. The technology works at speeds of up to 19mph and will make the car automatically brake if the driver does not respond in time when the car in front slows down or stops.
Dean De Beer, Tristar's Group CEO said: "We have been incredibly impressed with the improvement City Safety has made on our rear-end impacts in such a short space of time. While the majority of rear-end collisions occur at relatively low speeds, this type of accident can be costly, as it can involve personal injury. Our drivers do a lot of inner city driving, and City Safety helps them stay alert in heavy traffic, avoiding costly accidents and keeping our passengers and those around us safe."
Tristar chauffeurs 115,000 Virgin customers to and from airports annually, and having now successfully trialled Volvo's City Safety technology, it is also keen to adopt other technology, such as Volvo's BLIS system.
BLIS is Volvo's award winning Blind Spot Information System, and works by helping detect vehicles in the rear blind spot on both sides of the car. With changing lanes causing 12.8% of Tristar's accidents, Tristar is keen to utilize Volvo's safety technology to further reduce this statistic.