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Dongfeng Race Team claim Fastnet Volvo Leg Zero

China’s Dongfeng Race Team edged out MAPFRE by just 56 seconds in a Rolex Fastnet Race thriller in the early hours of Wednesday.

Dongfeng crossed the finish line off Plymouth breakwater at 04:18:10 hrs Wednesday morning, with MAPFRE following shortly afterwards at 04:19:06 hrs.

As an intense night of lead changes and fickle winds ended with the entire Volvo fleet separated by less than 40 minutes after more than 600 miles of racing.

Victory for Charles Caudrelier’s team keeps it tight at the top of Leg Zero qualifying for the Volvo Ocean Race – and heralds an epic battle to come when the race around the world begins from Alicante on 22 October.

Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel were next over the line – a result that will give them a massive boost given that their preparations started so late – followed by team AkzoNobel in fourth.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic completed the fleet arrivals – and with just over 39 minutes between the first and last placed boats, they will be boosted by the belief that they can close the gap further by October.

"It was good," said Turn the Tide skipper Dee Caffari. "Even if it was not the result we wanted, we were in touch with the VOR fleet the whole time and positions changed. It was interesting for the young new sailors in our team that we can be on the pace."

Among Caffari's crew, four had never done the Rolex Fastnet Race before. "We had some virgins on board, who are no longer virgins," said Caffari. "There is a lot to learn. It takes us that bit longer to get to the set-ups with each sail change and there were a lot of sail changes out there."

Volvo Ocean 65s in the Rolex Fastnet Race:

1. Dongfeng Race Team: 2 days 15 hours 38 minutes 10 seconds
2. MAPFRE: 2 days 15 hours 39 minutes 06 seconds
3. Team Brunel: 2 days 15 hours 45 minutes 47 seconds
4. team AkzoNobel: 2 days 15 hours 52 minutes 40 seconds
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing: 2 days 16 hours 09 minutes 11 seconds
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag: 2 days 16 hours 13 minutes 53 seconds
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic: 2 days 16 hours 17 minutes 32 seconds

There are two more races to go in the Leg Zero series of qualifiers. On Thursday, the fleet will race from Plymouth to Saint-Malo in France.

After a non-scoring Pro-Am Race on Saturday, the teams will complete the series with a race from Saint-Malo to Lisbon, starting on Sunday.

While an overall Leg Zero winner will be declared, based on equal scoring for each of the four stages, no points will be carried forward to the Volvo Ocean Race itself.

Overall Leg Zero rankings after 2 of 4 stages:

MAPFRE 15 points
Dongfeng Race Team 13
Team Brunel 13
team AkzoNobel 11
Vestas 11th Hour Racing 7
Turn the Tide on Plastic 6
Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 5

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