Franck Cammas takes the win. During this first 60ft trimaran Grand Prix of the 2001 season, it is indeed experience which has paid off.
By winning the last race, Franck Cammas (Groupamama) pulled off the win against Alain Gautier (Foncia) in the overall ranking. Jean-Luc Nelias (Belgacom) took third position.
The tramontane, the local north-western wind, which was expected to blow today did not dare show up. After two days of disputed regattas in a south-easterly wind (coming from the sea) and a short chop, the multihulls did not have the opportunity to show their impressive speed potential as planned.
In slow motion, Groupama wins the last race of the Grand Prix and takes over the lead in its overall ranking. Bonduelle precedes Foncia in a very light breeze. After a regatta during which the wind sometimes shifted 180 degrees, leaving more than half of the fleet behind, the winning trio consists of : Groupama first, with three wins, Foncia second, only one point behind, and Belgacom, finishing third thanks to a very good first day.
These three boats were the ones who led the show during this Grand Prix. Nice starts, tack duels in the upbeat legs, speed brawls, tactical battles … They never lacked audacity nor talent to make the best out of their three hulls.
Jean-Luc Nélias and his tactician Thierry Péponnet often did wonders with their eleven years old multihull and took great tactical decisions. Alain Gautier, always in the leading pack, just barely misses the first position. But in the end it is Cammas, and his winning-spirit of old, who performs best. After a hard start, Groupama warmed up and won three races which led her to victory.
Beware of Bonduelle !
Logic prevails in this Grand Prix. A reliable boat, free of any technical worry, was required to be able to concentrate fully on the regattas. A well trained crew was also compulsory. Bayer, severely handicapped in light winds, could not take advantage of her experience. But Yvan Bourgnon's goal is fulfilled : avoid any sailing mistakes and get a partly renewed crew going.
Jean Le Cam and his Bonduelle, after two second position finishes, deliver a serious warning. Often in the middle of the fleet during these three days, they are very near the leaders, and after two Grand Prix the yellow multihull represents a serious threat.
For the three new boats of the ORMA class, things aren't as bright. Despite good starts and a few good choices, Banque Populaire suffers a few technical problems and has a hard time heading upwind in a chopped sea. Same story for Fujifilm, with a mast not yet mastered by her crew. Fila could not finish the Grand Prix, Giovanni Soldini's and his crew had to quit in the second day, having torn their mainsail in two. But all this is not a surprise for anybody: these boats are new and need time - perhaps a whole season - to become reliable and to let the crews get to know how to make the best out of their machines. All these boats will compete in the Cagliari Grand Prix, from June 22 to June 24.
Overall provisional ranking after 6 races :
1- Groupama (Franck Cammas) 13 points (5-2-1-3-1-1)
2- Foncia (Alain Gautier) 14 points (1-3-2-2-3-3)
3- Belgacom (Jean-Luc Nélias) 17 points (2-1-3-1-6-4)
4- Bonduelle (Jean Le Cam) 20 points (3-4-5-4-2-2)
5- Bayer (Yvan Bourgnon) 36 points (8-5-6-6-4-7)
6- Fujifilm (Loïck Peyron) 36 points (7-7-7-5-5-5)
7- Banque Populaire (Lalou Roucayrol) 38 points (4-6-4-DNF-DNC-6)
8- Fila (Giovanni Soldini) 51 points (6-DNF-DNC-DNF-DNC-DNC)
Championship provisional ranking :
(after the Mondial Assistance Challenge and the ap d'Agde Grand Prix)
1-Foncia (Alain Gautier) 30 + 6 points = 36 points
2- Belgacom (Jean-Luc Nélias) 18 + 4 points = 22 points
2- Groupama (Franck Cammas) 12 + 10 points = 22 points
4- Bayer (Yvan Bourgnon) 9 + 2 points = 11 points
5- Bonduelle (Jean Le Cam) 0,3 + 3 points = 3,3 points
6- Fujifilm (Loïck Peyron) 0 + 1 point = 1 point
7- Banque Populaire (Lalou Roucayrol) 0,3 + 0,2 point = 0,5 points
8-Biscuits La Trinitaine (Marc Guillemot) 0,3 + 0 point = 0,3 point
9- Fila (Giovanni Soldini) 0 + 0,2 point = 0,2 point