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28 April 2003, 11:56 am
Groupama Takes It
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© Gilles Martin-Raget

ORMA Grand Prix
Lorient

The Lorient Grand Prix was completed on Sunday with the victory of Frank Cammas and his crew on Groupama who won this event at their home port for the second year running, after a great duel with Geant.
On the sporting level, this first event of the season revealed the excellent competitive level of the fleet.

Three races were run on Sunday in a south westerly wind of 20 knots with a 3 to 4 metre swell, and for the first time during this Grand Prix, the trimarans raced under reduced sail (a reef in the mainsail and a staysail) before re-hoisting full sail for the last race. The testing conditions favoured the most experienced teams such as Groupama, Banque Populaire and Belgacom, the latter two taking victories on the last day.

Going into the last day of racing the battle was between Michel Desjoyeaux and Frank Cammas separated by three points overall, going into the last race, the eighth, there was still all to play for, but the crew of Groupama, more familiar with this type of racing, took the final advantage. Third place on the podium was equally closely contested between Banque Populaire, Belgacom and Sodebo. It was Jean Luc Nélias, very incisive on the final day, who finally took third place.

Significantly the level of competitiveness of all 11 trimarans is high. Frank Cammas said after the finish: "in general, everyone goes quickly and manoeuvres well. We have won through consistency and second places…apart from our 8th place which was due to technical problems (loss of the starboard foil.) The level has really increased. It is more like a one design regatta. "

In eight races, seven trimarans finished a race in the top three. It was not sufficient to show flashes of brilliance, consistency was important, this was illustrated by Belgacom who despite winning three races only finished third overall.

Geant and Sodebo appeared well prepared technically and the crew fully trained. Respectively 2nd and 5th these two boats new to ORMA Grand Prixs showed a strong potential for the future.
Banque Populaire always well at ease in the stronger breezes and Biscuits la Trinitaine rapid downwind, finished mid-table despite several good moments.

Further back, Foncia and Bayer CropScience had a bad Grand Prix. Foncia for technical reasons (mainsail torn, pulpit damaged ) and a lack of training due to a delayed launching. On Bayer, Jean Maurel took over the helm for the first time in the Grand prix replacing Fred le Peutrec and despite several good beats the crew could not really consolidate these at the finish.

Ninth, Banque Covefi, was strongly sailed by her new skipper Stève Ravussin, despite the boat being built over ten years ago. Finally Sopra Group and Gitana always oscillating between eighth and eleventh place….

On Sopra Group, Laurent Bourgnon who replaced Philippe Monnet discovered a boat just out of the boatyard and not technically ready. Gitana which often showed good starts and good tactics, seemed to suffer from a lack of speed and the team will need to resolve this if they hope to progress.

Next rendezvous for the multihulls the 11 May for the start of the Cherbourg du Challenge Mondial Assistance. Next Grand Prix the GP of Italy (Cagliari/Sardinia) on 13 to 15 June.

Overall Results after 8 Races

1 - Groupama, Franck Cammas: 1 + 1 +2 + 8 + 2 + 2 +2 + 2 = 20 points
2 - Géant, Michel Desjoyeaux : 2+2 +3 +1+3 +3 + 6 + 6 = 26 pts
3 - Belgacom, Jean Luc Nélias : 4+ 5 +1 + 6 + 12 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 33 pts
4 - Banque Populaire, Lalou Roucayrol : 5+ 6 + 6 + 4+ 1 + 6 +1 + 7 = 36 pts
5 - Sodebo, Thomas Coville : 3+ 8 + 4 + 3+5 +7 + 8 + 3 = 41 pts
6 - Biscuits La Trinitaine, Marc Guillemot : 6+3 +7 + 5+6 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 42 pts
7 - Foncia, Alain Gautier : 9+7 + 8 + 2+ 4 +12 + 4 + 4 = 50 pts
8 - Bayer CropScience, Jean Maurel : 8 + 4 + 5 + 7+9 + 4 + 7 + 10 = 54 pts
9 - Banque Covefi, Stève Ravussin : 7+ 9 + 9 + 12 + 12 + 8 + 9 + 9 = 75 pts
10 - Sopra Group, Laurent Bourgnon : 10+10 + 11 + 9 + 7 + 9 + 10 + 11= 77 pts
11 - Gitana, Lionel Lemonchois : 11+11 +10 +10 + 8 + 10 + 11 + 8 = 79 pts


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