On Saturday afternoon, at the end of the second day of the Belgium Grand Prix, Foncia and Banque Populaire are again tied with the same number of points and share the first position in the overall standings. For Belgacom, the race is over : daggerboard broken.
A good breeze, some sun, a good show and the same boats leeding the fleet : once more Alain Gautier and Lalou Roucayrol fought over the lead. But if we are used to seeing Foncia ahead, it is less the case for Banque Populaire, the real revelation of this Grand Prix. Tonight, after five races, Lalou Roucayrol and his crew are (virtually) the leaders of this Belgium Grand Prix (best last race).
But the first race saw a clear domination by Foncia, thanks partly to a good sail selection. With a 20 to 25 knots wind, while the rest of the fleet had reefed their mainsail and are using their storm jib, Belgacom and Foncia kept their full mainsail. "We took our decision eight minutes before the start", explains Fabrice Levet, the mainsail trimmer. "We still had our reef until then." This paid off as the wind progressively calmed down. That plus excellent tactics, and it is another win in Belgium for Foncia, ahead of Banque Populaire. Lalou Roucayrol's crew was also very reactive during this race : "We were the only ones to take down the storm jib to hoist our solent during the race" comments Banque Populaire's skipper.
During the inshore race, a big 38 miles loop from one side to another of Zeebrugge, the skipper of the blue tri took his revenge and won the race which he almost lead from beginning to end, with Foncia right behind, who caught up well in the last leg. This inshore race was also the opportunity for Bonduelle to score her best result yet in this Grand Prix, by finishing third.
Overall standings after 5 races :
1 tied- Lalou Roucayrol (Banque Populaire) : 9 points
1 tied- Alain Gautier (Foncia) : 9 points
3 Franck Cammas (Groupama) :17 points
4 - Jean Luc Nélias (Belgacom) : 21 points
5- Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) : 22 points
6 tied- Yvan Bourgnon (Baygon) : 32 points
6 tied- Karine Fauconnier (Sergio Tacchini) : 32 points