Azzam claim third podium in Volvo Ocean Race

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Azzam claim third podium in Volvo Ocean Race

Azzam fended off the close attentions of Team Alvimedica, MAPFRE and Team Brunel to claim the runners-up spot behind runaway winners Dongfeng Race Team from China.

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Published: Wed 28 Jan 2015, 12:29 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:49 PM

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing arrives in Sanya in second position after 23 days of sailing. — Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi — Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) held off the challenges of three Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) rivals to finish second in a thrilling final sprint for the Leg 3 finish line in Sanya, China, completing a hat-trick of podium finishes so far in the round-the-world race.

Azzam — meaning ‘determination’ in Arabic — fended off the close attentions of Team Alvimedica, MAPFRE and Team Brunel to claim the runners-up spot behind runaway winners Dongfeng Race Team from China.

The team — led by double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker — now has six race points, putting them in second place overall in the epic, nine-month race — one point behind Dongfeng, who was first into its homeport by a margin of 3 hours 19 minutes.

For the first time in the team’s two VOR challenges, ADOR came out top in the IWC Schaffhausen 24-hour Speed Record Challenge for Leg 3, after recording the longest run — 337.7 miles — for a 24-hour period en route from Abu Dhabi to China.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority-backed team, that has also claimed podium finishes in the three in-port races so far, crossed the Leg 3 finish line in Sanya at 10:50am local time on Tuesday, January 27 after a little over 23 days of non-stop racing.

Despite having to settle for second place, Walker said he and the crew were pleased with the result, which came after three weeks of what he said had been the tightest racing he had ever experienced.

“This has been far and away the closest leg we have ever sailed,” said a weary but smiling Walker on the dock in Sanya.

UAE Olympian Adil Khalid said the leg had been a tough one mentally rather than physically, but said the crew glued together well when things did not go their way.

“This leg was brutal at times. There were times were we had to watch miles we’d gained over the fleet just evaporate – and that’s hard to deal with mentally. But nobody onboard weakened, and we just had to refocus and get on with clawing our way back.

“When the competition is this fierce it puts more pressure on your decision making and how you sail the boat,” Khalid said. “But it also means we have learnt more on this leg than ever before and that knowledge will no doubt serve us well as the race goes on.”



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