The man to beat


In the build up to the start of the Solitaire du Figaro we speak to 2001 winner Eric Drouglazet
The first prologue event for this year's Solitaire du Figaro kicks off tomorrow in Boulogne-sur-Mer. Among the fleet of 38 boats, the man to beat is last year's winner Eric Drouglazet sailing David Olivier. "Eric [Droglaazet] is surprising. He is relaxed. He has always got the same fierceness. Last year, he rounded a cape, he stopped being Mr Nice Guy of the race. He's now even more dangerous." These remarks from Sébastien Josse, who finished second in last year's Solitaire du Figaro, are revealing. The motivatioins of the 2001 winner haven't changed one iota and it is with an inalterable craving to win that he lines up at the start of his tenth singlehanded Figaro race, defending his title, racec favourte and attempting the double win while his opponents can think of nothing else than beating him! Since the inception of the Solitaire du Figaro, only one repeat win in consecutive years has ever happened. has been carried off two years running. In 1975-1976, Guy Cornou managed two victories, one after the other in the 'Course de l'Aurore' as the event was then known, at the helm of his wooden half tonner Jabadao. Philippe Poupon and Jean Le Cam remain the holders of the greatest number of victories - each with three wins - but a repeat win in consecutive years has never happened since. So will a second victory be as difficult as the first? "Without doubt. In the Single-handed Figaro, you must stop yourself from shouting victory too soon above all else," says Drouglazet. "Already, to finish on the podium is something very hard to do. I always knew I could win, but it is absolutely essential to also get a nudge in the direction of success thoughout the four legs. That remains highly perilous." Despite there being few

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