Feb. 28. The Spaniards of MAPFRE took victory in the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race in a tight finish. In fact, the crew led by skipper and Olympian Xabi Fernandez beat Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing by just 4 minutes and 25 seconds, after more than 20 days of sailing, and the first three arrived on the line in just eight minutes. MAPFRE crossed the finish line in Auckland, known as the City of Sails in the darkness of the night, punctuated by the city lights at 9:31.20 p.m. local time (9:31 a.m. Italian time) today, Feb. 28, 2015,between two wings of spectator boats, greeted by the very warm embrace of New Zealand fans.
SECOND THE ARABS, THIRD THE CHINESE
Coming in second at the finish line was Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, with British skipper Ian Walker and winner of the first leg, while in third position the French/Chinese Dongfeng Race Team, with Charles Caudrelier at the helm, who had excelled in the third leg in their home waters of Sanya crossed the line only four minutes later. Team Alvimedica’s young crew also did well, with only Italian round-the-world sailor Alberto Bolzan expected at the finish line in fourth place. Next were the Dutch of Team Brunel and the women’s crew of Team SCA, fifth and sixth respectively. Today’s victory for MAPFRE marks an important date for the Volvo Ocean Race, as it is the fourth different winner in four legs, something that has never happened in the race’s 40-plus-year history.
THE OVERALL RANKING
The overall standings after four legs now see Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the lead with 8 points, tied with Dongfeng Race Team (but in first position due to the best last result), followed by Team Brunel, MAPFRE and Team Alvimedica both with 16 points and Team SCA.