Ian Roman Photography / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Abu Dhabi Ocean Race wins Volvo Ocean Race

Third time lucky for Ian Walker

Thursday June 11th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Ian Walker and the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team have clinched the 2014-5 Volvo Ocean Race in the early hours of Thursday. A third place in Leg 8, has left them with a virtually unassailable eight point lead over Team Brunel with one stage to go. Only a very unlikely combination of a last-placed finish on Leg 9 into Gothenburg plus at least two penalty points can deprive the title in this race.

Walker, 45, becomes the first British skipper to win the overall trophy in 41 year history of the event, although John Chittenden on Creighton's Naturally won the Cruising Division in the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race. The victory comes on Walker's third attempt following his Green Dragon campaign in 2008-9 and the first Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing campaign in 2011-12 in which he finished a disappointing fifth.

Listen to Ian Walker's comments here

The pre-event strategy for the 2014-15 race of a podium finish on every leg was carried out almost to perfection – they were fifth on Leg 7 – enough to take them to a convincing victory.

"It's not really sunk in yet," said a still dazed Walker. "When we passed the finish line we all went quiet and asked ourselves 'is that it?' But I can't thank our team enough. We made a plan one and a half years ago and we just carried out that plan."

He could not resist a thought of the reaction 'back home' in Abu Dhabi. "I bet they're going nuts," he said. "We couldn't have done it without their backing."

Dongfeng Race Team, like Team Brunel, needed to beat Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing on this leg to stand any chance of wresting the overall trophy away could only finish in seventh and last place behind Team Alvimedica, while Bouwe Bekking's Team Brunel came home fifth.

From here the boats will have a short maintenance period before Sunday’s SCA In-Port Race Lorient, before the fleet set sail for Gothenburg, via a pit-stop in The Hague, on Tuesday, 16 June.

Fight is now on for the remaining podium places, with Team Brunel (27 points), Dongfeng Race Team (29), MAPFRE (31) and Team Alvimedica (33) all within six points of each other.


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