Two more Acts to go and the rankings have never been so disputed. The first three boats are standing within 13 points and they are almost assured to finish on the podium, as the gap over Grandeur Nature in fourth is now up to 67 points. And only 12 points separate 6th place Beijaflore from 11th Maître Coq. The Tour de France à la Voile leaderboard is wide open.
They were eager to cancel yesterday’s worst performance on Gruissan coastal course (18th), and they did it the best way they could possibly imagine : by scoring their first victory in the Tour so far. Young Corinthian team Vannes Agglo finished second in Pornichet Stadium racing and have been dreaming of a victory ever since.
« It went really well for us today », said one of the two skippers Quentin Delapierre. « I am very happy with our boat speed and crew work. We also have a fantastic shore crew that have worked really hard to fix all of the boats little hurts. Without them we could not get some rest and perform on the water. So this is a whole team victory. We wanted it so much. Before the last race we said to ourselves that we would have massive regrets if we missed it. So we went for it and gave it all. We took a great start and Kevin is an amazing tactician. Groupama won the final, but they offered us the first race with their big mistake ».
After Groupama’s nightmare coastal race yesterday, that cost them leadership, Pierre Pennec had the pressure on. Maybe too much pressure on. In first stadium race, he made an unbelievable mistake… « We went for a third lapse, while there was only two. It’s a stupid mistake. A sailing school sort of mistake », admits helmsman Pierre Pennec. «I am so ashamed towards Franck Cammas an Groupama. It’s such a pity because we were in the lead. It was like a baseball bat punch. We managed to recover and let ourselves down ». Groupama ended up winning two races and the final and only loses one point overall. « It’s almost a new start into the race now. Being five points behind is not much different from being one point ahead. I think the two next coastal races in Marseille and Nice will be decisive ».
Pierre Pennec now also have to keep an eye behind his back, as Spindrift also had a nice day. After their victory yesterday, Xavier Revil and his crew are winning some important points towards the rankings, and they could threat CombiWest and Groupama. « We didn’t try anything crazy today », said skipper Xavier Revil, « The wind was so shifty that a bad call could be costly. Some of our rivals have had a terrible day, like Grandeur Nature who ended up in the Silver Final for the first time since the beginning of the Tour. Now they are far behind on the leaderboard and we can focus on the podium ».
Tomorrow the fleet will have a day-off which will be a much welcome break before the last four racing days, in Marseille, and Nice.