CARDIFF (#1025) – After match racing AkzoNobel (NED) from Newport, RI across much of the North Atlantic, Team Brunel won Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race by only 4 minutes, 5 seconds in the early hours Tuesday off Cardiff, Wales. The victory by Team Brunel and its skipper, eight-time VOR participant Bouwe Bekking, shook up and tightened the leaderboard, with new leader Dongfeng Race Team, former leader MAPFRE and Team Brunel bunched within three points.
Brunel won a drag race between the Dutch boats to earn 15 points on the double-points leg, including one bonus point. It now has 57 points. Overall leader MAPFRE finished fifth and was replaced as overall leader by Dongfeng Race Team by one point, 60-59.
Dongfeng finished third in the leg and Vestas 11th Hour Racing was fourth.
It was another remarkably small margin after the leg of 3,300 nautical miles from Newport, R.I. Team Brunel was on the winning side of a close finish after its gut-wrenching second-place finish in Leg 8, when it gave up the lead to MAPFRE in the final 500 meters and lost by 61 seconds in light conditions.