Groupama back in Volvo victory contention

5 May 2012
French team Groupama
French team Groupama, pictured in action in February 2012, launched a comeback in the sixth stage of the Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday to keep their chances of scoring a second leg win alive

French team Groupama launched a comeback in the sixth stage of the Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday to keep their chances of scoring a second leg win alive.

Groupama's hopes of victory seemed to have faded when they found themselves more than 140 miles behind frontrunners Puma -- but after halving the distance to their American rivals with just four days to go, they are right back in the race.

"Groupama have moved back in," said Spanish skipper Iker Martínez, whose Telefonica team are currently in third place in the leg and a meagre 16 points ahead of Groupama at the top of the overall standings.

"We now have to try to fend them off."

After several days of fast sailing, the fleet has stalled in light airs in the Caribbean Sea, 14 days into the race from Brazil to Miami.

With less than 20 miles splitting the top trio of Puma, Camper/Team New Zealand and Telefonica, and Groupama and Abu Dhabi less than 70 miles back, the leg remains anyone's to win.

"Right now, all bets are off," Puma skipper Ken Read said. "There is a serious game of roulette going on out. This is going to be a battle right to the very end."

The 39,000-mile Volvo Ocean Race, sailing's toughest event, finishes in Galway, Ireland, in July.

Overall standings after five of nine offshore legs: 1 Telefónica (Spain) 149 points, 2 Groupama (France) 133, 3 Camper (NZ/Spain) 124, 4 Puma (U.S.) 117, 5 Abu Dhabi (UAE) 58, 6 Team Sanya (China) 25