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Foxall Dream Comes True in Galway as Groupama Win Volvo Ocean Race

3rd July 2012
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Foxall Dream Comes True in Galway as Groupama Win Volvo Ocean Race

#vor – Kerry's Damian Foxall Groupama team won the 11th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race early this morning when they crossed the finish line in the pitch black Galway night to settle the closest contest in the race's 39-year history.

While CAMPER were celebrating victory in the ninth and final leg, Groupama skipper Franck Cammas led his team home in second place to take an unassailable 24-point lead with just one in-port race to go.

The win for Groupama would be the first Volvo Ocean Race victory for Foxall, who has sailed round the world nine times. The Kerry man hails  from Derrynane and had a childhood dream of competing in the then Whitbread Round the World Race.

Foxall is not the first Irish winner, Foxall joins hid former Green Dragon team mater Cork sailor Justin Slattery who was a winner of this race in 2006.

This morning Groupama crossed the finish line at 00:49:11 UTC, just seven minutes behind CAMPER. PUMA finished in third place at 00:55:01 UTC ahead of Team Telefonica, who finished at 00:59:33 UTC.

Cammas, the 39-year-old Frenchman, threw his arms up and pumped his fists in the air while thousands of fans gathered on the dock of Galway Bay to roar the team -- including Irishman Damian Foxall -- home to a remarkable victory in their first appearance in the race.

foxallwins

Damian is centre stage for this morning's celebrations

galwaydocks

Turning the Galway night sky red. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Chris Nicholson from Australia, arrive to a huge spectator crowd, after winning leg 9 to Galway. Photo: Paul Todd

Groupama are the first team to represent France in the Volvo Ocean Race since Eric Tabarly's La Poste in 1993-94 and they are only the second French winners after Lionel Pean on L'Espirit d'Equipe in 1985-86.

The team gallantly fought back from a deficit that was as high as 28 points following the HaiTang Bay In-Port Race in Sanya, winning the next leg to Auckland and steadily improving their knowledge of their boat and cohesion as a team to surge to a commanding lead going into Leg 9.

With the sort of nerve that quickly became their trademark in the race, Groupama stayed serenely out of trouble on the 550-nautical mile race through wild conditions in the English Channel and around the iconic Fastnet Rock, to finish second across the line and seal their place among an elite band of winners in an event that began life as the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand led the procession across the finish line much to the delight of surrounding flotilla of spectators, at 00:42:13 UTC -- their first leg win of the race.

CAMPER are almost certain to secure second place with 226 points, six points clear of third place PUMA, with just the final in-port race remaining.

Six points will be up for grabs for first place, five for second, four for third and so on when the final race of the epic 39,000 nautical mile ocean race starts on July 7.

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Camper are greeted by a huge crowd this morning

Standings after the final offshore leg:

1. Groupama (France) 250 points

2. Camper/ETNZ (Spain/New Zealand) 226

3. Pima (U.S.) 220

4. Telefonica (Spain) 209

5. Abu Dhabi (UAE) 124 + 5 or 10

6. Sanya (China) 40 + 5 or 10

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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