Yesterday, in 10 knots of southwesterly breeze, the eleven teams entered in the ORMA Grand Prix Cap L'Orient completed two practice races. Each race was won respectively by Groupama, and Bayer CropScience.
This year, following the problems manifested in the Route du Rhum last November, the level of competition in the ORMA Grand Prix has risen considerably. As the event starts today it will literally be a battle for the points on the water.
All except Sopra Group appeared on the water yesterday for a short practice session. Sopra satisfied herself with a small sail before returning to Port for a lift out before racing gets going today.
The first practice race, which started at 1430 hrs and gave a small insight as to what the Grand Prix was going to be all about - Fierce battles between, in particular, Groupama, Belgacom, Biscuits la Trinitaine, Foncia, Geant and Bayer. In the mind of many competitors the level of competition has raised a notch. "Nothing in it compared to last year,"
commented Jean-Christophe Mourniac, tactician on Bayer, "it will be difficult to make gains, each and every one of these teams is capable of winning."
Course wise yesterday, the left hand side appeared to pay, but, "with an even start, the course was fairly even,"
said Tanguy Cariou, strategist aboard Groupama, and followed, "the difficulty today was that the courses were quite small, and close to the shoreline. The windward mark was positioned underneath L'Ile de Groix, in disturbed air. It was vital to get a good start and to concentrate hard on your position in relation to other boats."</>
Racing Proper begins this morning with three or four windward/leewards in the schedule for the day. The forecasted weather is for a little more breeze than yesterday, between 12 and 18 knots. Suggesting the first ORMA Grand Prix is going to be superb!
Jean-Luc Nélias,Grégoire Metz, Peter De Smedt, Luc Bartissol, Thierry Peponnet, Olivier Douillard, Christophe Lassègue, Nacho Postigo, Fred Brousse, Jean-Sébastien Ponce, Laurent Delage.
Laurent Bourgnon, Florence Arthaud, Thierry Brault, Jacques Delorme, Halvard Mabire, Sylvain Pélissier, Bruno Staub, PM. Bazin, Xavier Dagault, Pierre Trémouille, Denis Charvoz.
Biscuits La Trintaine
Marc Guillemot, Armel le Cléac'h, Jean Baptiste le Vaillant, Manu Le Borgne, Thierry Duprey, Nicolas Raynaud, Antoine Carpentier, Laurent Rivals, Sébastien Thétiot, Gilles André, Fred Le Maistre.
Alain Gautier, Nicolas Bérenger, Thierry Briend, Thierry Chappet, Sébastien Col, Loïk Gallon, Antoine Gautier, Albert Jacobsoone, Fabrice Levet, Philippe Péché.
Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Franck Proffit, Philippe Touet, Benoît Briand, Thierry Fouchier, Fabrice Blondel, Eric Coulon, Ewen Le Clech, Ronan Lucas.
Thomas Coville, Denis Pelmont, Jean-Christophe Moussard, Pierre Pennec, Christian Dumard, Fred Guilmin, Hervé Cunningham, Loïc Le Mignon, Jacques Vincent, Knud Frostad, Stéphane Fodor.
Lalou Roucayrol, Daniel Souben, Mayeul Riffet, Bruno Laurent, Olivier Lozachmeur, Thierry Poirey, Gilles Favennec, Frédéric Pautler, Jean-Marie Dauris, Bruno Jeanjean,
Stève Ravussin, Georges Wagner, Claude Thélier, Nicolas Pichelin, Thierry Douillard, Bertrand Seydoux, Bruno Gillard, Nicolas Avram, Pierre-Yves Moreau, Dominic Vittet.
Jean Maurel, Loïc Lingois, Jean-Christophe Mourniac, Franck Citeau, Julien Cressant, Fred Dahirel, Eric Boiraud, Brice Berthier, Alexis de Cenival, Jochen Krauth, Jan Dekker.
Lionel Lemonchois, Benjamin de Rothschild, Nicolas Berthoud, François Denis, Philippe Durr, Nicolas Engel, Jean-Baptiste Epron, Marc Guessard, Jean-Paul Levrel, Yann Marilley, Olivier Wroczynski.
Michel Desjoyeaux, Jean François Cuzon, Eric Carret, Nicolas Texier, Vincent Riou, Mick Kermarec, Nicolas de Castro, Hervé Jan, Renaud Banüls, Jacques Caraës.