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13 May 2005, 04:25 pm
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IB Group Challenge 2005

There have been massive changes at the front as the six 60 foot trimarans contesting the IB Group Challenge approach the turning mark at Malte, Sicily, Italy.
It has been a topsy-turvy race at the front with the lead changing hands numerous times since the start on Sunday and the fleet, especially the first five boats, remaining incredibly close.

However, the 1330 hours GMT poll shows a massive gap between the front two, Groupama-2, skippered by Franck CAMMAS and Pascal BIDÉGORRY on Bank Populaire, and the rest of the fleet.

In third, leader yesterday at the 1400 GMT poll, Michel DESJOYEAUX on Bank Populaire, is over 70 miles behind CAMMAS and battling with Frederic PEUTREC on Gitana 11 for third place.

Fifth and sixth place, Armel CLÉAC'H and Thierry DUPREY, on Foncia and Gitana X respectively, now seem to be out of the contest with CLÉAC'H 128 miles from the front and DUPREY almost 70 miles behind him.

Back at the front things still remain tight between CAMMAS, in first place and BIDÉGORRY, who is just over five miles behind. Both are now approximately 800 miles from the finish although the current slow speeds of around ten knots make it difficult to predict an ETA for the leaders.

(at 1330 hours GMT)

  1. Groupama-2, Franck CAMMAS - 803 miles from the finish
  2. Bank Populaire, Pascal BIDÉGORRY - 5.6 miles from the leader
  3. Géant, Michel DESJOYEAUX - 71.4 miles from the leader
  4. Gitana 11, Frederic PEUTREC - 79.6 miles from the leader
  5. Foncia, Armel CLÉAC'H - 128.1 miles from the leader
  6. Gitana X, Thierry DUPREY - 196.1 miles from the leader
ISAF. Image, Groupama has taken the lead:© Y. Zedda\IBGroup-Challenge
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