Team Telefónica’s dominance in the current Volvo Ocean Race continued this weekend during the in-port race in Sanya, China. The Spanish team beat PUMA to win the Sanya Haitang Bay In-Port Race and extend their overall lead to 18 points.
Telefónica had a last minute change of rigging, but a smart decision to drive hard right off the start line took them clear of the fleet saw them get more points. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing took the third podium place.
Iker Martínez and his team have won all three offshore legs of the Volvo Ocean Race. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, fought their way back up from sixth to fourth but it was a disappointing day for Chris Nicholson’s team, who lost another three points to the leaders.
Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez said:
“Today the tactics were what made the difference. We were really in the right place for the upwind legs and the first downwind too. Even if we weren’t great at manoeuvres, we were in the right place and that’s what mattered.”
PUMA skipper Ken Read was also satisfied with a performance that meant Telefónica could never quite be comfortable:
“We are pleased. I think we did a really good job of it today. In a fleet like this we’ll take second every day of the week.”
Flat waters and winds gusting up to 20 knots provided perfect conditions for the fourth in-port race of the 2011-12 edition, allowing the teams to put on a spectacular show for the thousands of spectators who turned out to watch the action over a fast 10.8 nautical mile course. Telefónica took the lead early, rounding the first mark with a 28-second lead over their rivals before a slow rounding at the second mark saw Ken Read’s PUMA close the gap to just three seconds.
For a while it was neck and neck and PUMA appeared set to pounce but Telefónica’s superior speed saw them pull away and such was their dominance they were able to sail conservatively over the closing stages to ensure the win by a margin of 41 seconds. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were four minutes and 20 seconds behind the leaders with CAMPER trailing by five minutes and 35 seconds.
The overall rankings remain unchanged. Telefónica now lead with 101 points, followed by CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand on 83 and Groupama sailing team on 73. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG have 53, followed by Abu Dhabi on 43 and Team Sanya on 17.
Sanya Haitang Bay In-Port Race results:
- 1. Team Telefónica 58 minutes 37 seconds
- 2. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG +0:41 seconds
- 3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing +4 minutes 20 seconds
- 4. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand +5:35
- 5. Groupama sailing team +6:51
- 6. Team Sanya: +7:13