Solitaire du Figaro
Armel Le Cléac’h : "It’s a great win"
The "Chacal" wins leg 1 in Gijon ahead of Eliès and Peron
samedi 31 juillet 2010 –
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At precisely 01:42:32 a.m. on Saturday Armel Le Cléac’h on Brit Air crossed the finish line two miles outside the port of Gijon, on the Spanish Coast after 83 hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds racing. He covered the 515 miles from Le Havre to Gijón at an average speed of 6.9 knots. Brit Air’s skipper has participated nine times to the Solitaire and scored three leg wins.
Le Cléac’h has sailed the perfect race right from the very start and never been less than top five, moving into the lead just after passing the Brittany Point on Thursday at dawn, only temporarily conceding the first place to François Gabart and to the rookie Yoann Richomme. His victory was built in the Bay of Biscay when he skilfully opted for a more easterly route escaping the high-pressure ridge area. Winner in 2003, where he beat Alain Gautier by the memorable 13 seconds, Armel Le Cléac’h is 33 years old and for some time now has been a point of reference on the Figaro circuit. Over the past two years he has enjoyed success in both the Open 60 and Figaro campaigns : 2nd in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe, 2008 Imoca Imoca #IMOCA World Champion and then winner last year of the Transat AG2R Transat AG2R #TALM -La Mondiale.
Just 15 minutes later, Yann Eliès (Genearli Europ Assistance) crossed the line in second place. His time deficit in the overall ranking will be considered as provisional as a minimum 30 minute time-penality will be imposed once the jury meet in Brest Brest #brest to hear the case of a broken engine seal. Eliès was forced to break the seal to in order to get his boat off the sand when he ran aground off Finisterre midway into the race whilst in the lead.
The podium was completed by Eric Peron (Skipper Masif 2009) who was the first skipper to reach the Radio France buoy just 4 miles after the start of the race last Tuesday in Le Havre and held the lead at various stages over the course of the first leg. This is Eric’s first leg podium finish on what is now his 4th participation.
The first rookie to reach Gijón was Yoann Richomme (DLBC).
Quotes form the skippers :
Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) : “It’s a great win. It was pretty exhausting on the first two days, I reckon I haven’t slept at all for 48 hours. But I knew that the passage at the Sein was crucial and I could not get any rest. I started to have hallucinations, forgetting I was racing, not knowing exactly where I was. Good I could get some rest last night and get ready for this last sprint to the finish. It was a complicated race, it’s been hard to make the right choices, the weather was not always what we expected and we had a bit of everything. I’m going to enjoy my victory now and get ready for next leg…”
Yann Eliès (Generali – Europe Assitance) : “The alert system did not activate and I went aground, that’s basically it. I have no regrets because I believe I sailed well up to the finish and I’m all right with what I did. It’s not easy to go back racing after such a disappointment, I made a huge mistake and I probably ruined the rest of my Solitaire, but that’s part of the game… and maybe not everything is lost, I still have a chance and I still wish to fight back.”
Pietro D’Ali (I.NOVA.3) : “The first part has been really hard, I’ve never experienced something like the passage at Sein, there was such a strong current it produced waves. Then I decided to go west, it was a gamble that at first seemed to pay but in the end didn’t. I’m very tired, slept very little. I’m not too disappointed because I knew from the beginning that this class and this race are tough. It could have been better but I’m still motivated for the rest of the Solitaire. I will have some hours good sleep and be ready to start again.”
Francisco Lobato (ROFF/TEMPO TEAM) : “A series of unfortunate events meant I found myself at the back of the fleet and pretty much always with things turning against me. I overjumped the start, then managed to sail on the inside of some channel marks, so went back round them and then it was just strange to be trying to play catch up. After the channel I was forced to sail far round and west of Sein to try and avoid the current and basically by then I was miles behind. It is good to get here because to be honest, when you have no one around to race against you loose motivation abit and end up on what feels like a boat delivery. I have asked myself lots of questions and will now get some food and rest before looking at everything.”
Arrivings in Gijon
1 62 LE CLEAC’H Armel BRIT AIR Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 01:14:32
2 26 ELIES Yann GENERALI-EUROP ASSISTANCE Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 01:29:04
3 79 PERON Eric SKIPPER MACIF 2009 Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 01:37:22
4 3 GABART François SKIPPER MACIF 2010 Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 02:02:23
5 190 ROUXEL Thomas Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 02:04:12
6 1 MORVAN Gildas CERCLE VERT Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 02:13:30
7 * 19 RICHOMME Yoann DLBC Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 02:26:00
8 16 DOUGUET Corentin E.LECLERC MOBILE Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 02:26:23-
9 2 TABARLY Erwan NACARAT Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 02:28:03
10 60 LOISON Alexis ALLMER INEO-GDF-SUEZ Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 02:28:23
16 * 59 STAMM Bernard CHEMINEES POUJOULAT Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 02:40:38
35 42 D’ALI Pietro I.NOVA -3 Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 04:53:32
36 37 MALBON Jonny ARTEMIS Arrivé le 31/07/2010 à 05:01:45
45 * 85 LOBATO Francisco ROFF/Tempo-Team
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