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5 January 2012, 11:36 am
Leg Honours For Telefonica But Groupama Steal The Day
Brad Marsh
Brad Marsh (NZL) onboard Groupama Sailing Team,

Volvo Ocean Race

Team Telefonica secured overall victory in Leg 2 with a strong second place but there was joy too for Groupama sailing team on Wednesday as they notched their first win of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, snatching top spot ahead of their rivals in the dying moments of the sprint into Abu Dhabi.
The French challengers closed the gap with Telefonica to two boat lengths within 20 nautical miles of the finish during the fast-paced 98nm drag race from the Sharjah coastline, before clinching the lead with slick manoeuvres at the final mark rounding.

Despite racing with a cracked hull, which the sailors attempted to fix before racing resumed, Franck Cammas' men surged to victory in a 20 knot northwest breeze and big swell at 12:22:09 UTC, finishing just 52 seconds ahead of Telefonica.

"We were very fast today,'' Cammas said. "This morning we were a little worried about the repair. Now, I think we were so fast we will leave it."

All the boats were accompanied into the port by the traditional dhow boats.

Groupama scored six points to add to the 12 they scored for finishing fourth in Stage 1 of the leg that was split in to two stages by race organisers because of the increasing threat of pirates. The French team remain third on the overall leaderboard with 42 points and Telefonica hold poll position with 66 points.

CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson said his team were unsatisfied by their result, before describing Stage 2 as the "longest short race I've ever done''.

"It was a disappointing result,'' he said. "In this race we don't really feel like we've hit our straps yet. Courses like todays don't really seem to suit us but we know we have strengths in other areas and we know we'll come good when we get those conditions."

Abu Dhabi crewmember Adil Khalid, the first ever Emirati to compete in the race, added, "It's a great day for Abu Dhabi and a great day for me. It's amazing to be back home and I can't believe all the people who have come out here. There's a long way to go in the race. Today was just not our day. It was very fast out there."

Leg 2 Stage 2 results:
1. Groupama sailing team, 6 points
2. Team Telefonica, 5
3. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, 4
4. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, 3
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 2

Overall Leg 2 results:
1. Team Telefonica, 29 points
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, 24
3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, 19
4. Groupama sailing team, 18
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 10

Overall leaderboard after Leg 2:
1. Team Telefonica, 66 points
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, 58
3. Groupama sailing team, 42
4. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, 28
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 19
6. Team Sanya, 4
Volvo Ocean Race
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