Early lead for Cammas

On day one of the Marseille ORMA Grand Prix

Friday October 1st 2004, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
With just three points separating the three leading boats going into day one of the Marseille ORMA Grand Prix, the atmosphere out on the course was tense.

The start of the first race saw Groupama make a typically perfect start, all the boats more or less on the line with the exception of Banque Populaire and Foncia who were behind. On Sopra Group, Philippe Monnet attemped, unsuccessfully to port tack the fleet and had to dip transoms, but the right side of the beat proved favoured and the red trimaran reached the top mark first two boat lengths ahead of Groupama.

Monnet expertly covered Groupama until the boats were becalmed in the lee of a ferry that was returning to Marseille. This allowed Alain Gautier on Foncia, sailing his last 60ft trimaran regatta, to lead around the bottom mark.

But the race was far from over. While skirting the shores of the islands of Friuli, Foncia, Groupama and Sergio Tacchini found the wind dropping. This allowed Sopra Group to once again take the lead, crossing the finish line about 1m ahead of Groupama - a rare victory for Monnet - with Fred le Peutrec on Gitana XI third.

For race two the wind had shifted to the southwest at 8-12 knots and Groupama once again got off to the best start with Geant, Sergio Tacchini and Foncia to leeward. At the weather mark Cammas had built up a reasonable lead and maintained a loose cover over Sergio Tacchini as Foncia gybed off to the left, Banque Populaire to the right. The former proved the better tactic and Gautier rounded the leeward mark third.

The Race Committee chose to shorten course after two laps with only Gitana II picking up a place moving into fourth.

With Groupama now in the lead Karine Fauconnier must put a boat between her and Cammas if she stands a chance of winning this year's ORMA title.

Results after two races:
1-Franck Cammas – Groupama (2+2) 4 points
2-Karine Fauconnier – Sergio Tacchini (4+2) 6 points
3-Fred Le Peutrec – Gitana 11 (3+4) 7 points
4-Philippe Monnet – Sopra Group (1+7) 8 points
5-Alain Gautier – Foncia (5+3) 8 points
6-Pascal Bidégorry – Banque Populaire (7+5) 12 points
7-Michel Desjoyeaux – Géant (6+6) 12 points
8-Thomas Coville – Sodebo (10+10) 20 points
8exaequo - Steve Ravussin - Banque Covefi (10 +10) 20 points 

More photos on page 2...

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