PLYMOUTH, GBR – China’s Dongfeng Race Team has edged MAPFRE by just 56 seconds in a Rolex Fastnet Race thriller in the early hours today to complete leg two of Leg Zero of the Volvo Ocean Race. Dongfeng’s victory came after an intense night of lead changes and fickle winds ended with the entire fleet separated by less than 40 minutes after more than 600 miles of racing.
The victory for skipper Charles Caudrelier’s team keeps things tight at the top of Leg Zero standings and shows how close racing might be once the fleet heads out for its round-the-world jaunt starting from Alicante, ESP, on Oct. 22.
MAPFRE and Dongfeng had the best start back in Cowes on Sunday, stayed close all the way around the course and finally finished just meters from each other off the Plymouth breakwater.
Dongfeng crossed the line at 04:18:10 local time, with MAPFRE following shortly afterward at 04:19:06.
Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel was next, a result that will give it a massive boost given that its preparations started so late. Then came Team AkzoNobel, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic.
Volvo Ocean 65s in the Rolex Fastnet Race:
1. Dongfeng Race Team: 2 days 15 hours 38 minutes 10 seconds
2. MAPFRE: 2 days 15 hours 39 minutes 06 seconds
3. Team Brunel: 2 days 15 hours 45 minutes 47 seconds
4. team AkzoNobel: 2 days 15 hours 52 minutes 40 seconds
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing: 2 days 16 hours 09 minutes 11 seconds
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag: 2 days 16 hours 13 minutes 53 seconds
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic: 2 days 16 hours 17 minutes 32 seconds
There are two more races in the Leg Zero series. On Thursday, the fleet will race from Plymouth to Saint-Malo, France. After a non-scoring Pro-Am Race on Saturday, the teams will complete the series with a race from Saint-Malo to Lisbon starting on Sunday.
While an overall Leg Zero winner will be declared, based on equal scoring for each of the four stages, no points will be carried forward to the Volvo Ocean Race itself.
Overall Leg Zero rankings after two of four stages:
MAPFRE, 15 points
Dongfeng Race Team, 13
Team Brunel, 13
team AkzoNobel, 11
Vestas 11th Hour Racing, 7
Turn the Tide on Plastic, 6
Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, 5.
Dongfeng Race Team wins a thriller against MAPFRE in the Rolex Fastnet Race as part of Leg Zero of the Volvo Ocean Race.