#VOR - MAPFRE have crossed the line at Auckland to take victory in the fourth leg of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, just minutes ahead of their closest rivals Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – with Irish bowman Justin Slattery among her crew – and Leg 3 winners Dongfeng Race Team.
Indeed, only eight minutes separated the three yachts as they sailed into the Viaduct Harbour in New Zealand's largest city just over an hour ago. And Team Alvimedica were not far behind, crossing the line within the last few minutes.
What's more, there's still a battle to escape last place, as Team Brunel and Team SCA were just nine nautical miles apart according to the most recent live tracker update.
"Today is a very good day for the team!" said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernandez as his boat and crew reached the finish line at 9.31pm local time.
And there were no hard feelings from second-place Abu Dhabi, with skipper Ian Walker saying he was "very pleased for Xabi" after "a very, very exciting finish, and a few nerve-wracking days."
The result marks an incredible change in fortunes for the Spanish team, who finished dead last in Cape Town after the first leg but steadily improved their form as the fleet traversed the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea towards the Pacific.
The Volvo Ocean Race website has much more on the story HERE.