Gitana Team wins the Grand Prix de Corse
The Grand Prix de Corse ended this afternoon with a superb win for Gitana 11 at the end of a 5th round raced in winds which were unsteady in both strength and direction.

Victory to confirm the consistent progress made by Gitana 11 since the Grand Prix de Fécamp last July where the team headed by Fred Le Peutrec were third overall. At the end of August, Gitana 11 won the Défi Petit Navire, marking a turning point in the team's gaining confidence following the disappointment in Québec-Saint Malo where the boat withdrew for gear failure just as everything was going really well.

Here in Calvi, Gitana 11 has been consistent from start to finish taking 5th, 4th, 2nd and 3rd place in the first four rounds. Winning the 5th and last round today confirms their excellent progress and team cohesion – not t mention that Gitana 11 is one of the best trimarans in terms of performance on the Orma circuit 2004.

Summary of round n° 5

Round of 5 of the Grand Prix de Corse, the one and only race for today, took a little time to get going. Firstly, the easterly wind which took its time to gain strength, finally veering north to reach 5 to 8 knots. At last, at 13h18, the Race Committee could finally fire the starting shot, originally scheduled  for 10h 30. Two rounds of a windward / leeward loop on a favourable port line. Fred Le Peutrec (Gitana 11) backed up by tactician Yann Guichard were not slow off the mark when it came to finding the corridor of wind and headed off right in front of Yvan Ravussin (Banque Covefi) who had made good ground and Alain Gautier who was in fine fettle. Further down the field things were looking pretty dismal for Franck Cammas (Groupama) out of the running in seventh place and for Karine Fauconnier (Sergio Tacchini) who was lacking inspiration on this first upwind leg. What followed confirmed the « fragmentation » of these two crews who never once managed to threaten the leaders. Gitana 11 crossed the finishing line almost light-heartedly with nearly half a round lead over the last boat Sopra Group. Fred Le Peutrec clocked up a six minute lead over Foncia, who pipped Banque Covéfi at the post to finish second on the last run downwind. At the back of the fleet Franck Cammas did not come off too badly but did never the less lose his second place overall although he was three places ahead of Karine Fauconnier !

Question and answer session with Fred Le Peutrec - Skipper of Gitana 11

How did you handle this last round ?

It was ideal all round. Tactically speaking, we were well placed off to the right from the word go. Afterwards, the weather played into our hands pulling us forwards, leaving the others behind. The rest of the fleet was tightly packed and so they were in each other's way on the first run downwind. We were out on our own as we headed for the leeward mark on a perfectly clear playing field. We managed to win this round and put plenty of boats between us and Tacchini who were leading overall yesterday evening and also between Groupama, with whom we were on a level pegging points wise yesterday evening.  This success spurs us on for the last round of the Orma Championship which will be taking place next week in Marseille.

Analysis of the Gitana Team's performance today :

The Team's first Grand Prix win but for me too as skipper,  a success which we are proud to offer to our sponsor, Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, who follows our progress with passionate interest when he is not acutally on board himself. Positive all round and really boosts us for Marseille. Finishing the 2004 season in such great form is brilliant for the whole of the Gitana Team, sailing and shore crew alike. We knew that we had a boat capable of achieving this sort of result in all of the races, and it was up to us to get it into our heads that we could pull it of. We had to get into the swing of things and build our confidence each time we did well. As far as the boat is concerned, we now know that she also sails well in light air, that she is an extremely versatile multihull, although she is a little complicated to handle in light air never the less. If we are to keep her going, we can never let up, not let the slightest thing through after rounding a mark at the helm or in trimming the sheets. Communication has to be tiptop, be it orally or through gestures so that I at the helm and the timmers are perfectly in phase with each other at all times. We're getting better all the time on Gitana 11, but we need to concentrate all the time too. This first Grand Prix win gives us confidence. Now we have to work on stabilising our performance potential and regularly be up there in the top three boats on this Orma Championship.


Result Round n°5

1 – Gitana 11– 1 point
2 - Foncia – 2 points
3 – Banque Covefi – 3 points
4 – Groupama II – 4 points
5 – Sodebo – 5 points
6 – Banque Populaire– 6 points
7 – Sergio Tacchini -  7 points
8 – Géant – 8 points
9 – Sopra Group – 9 points
10 – TIM Progetto Italia – DNS - 11 points

Overall rankings - Grand Prix de Corse after 5 rounds

1 – Gitana 11 –  15  points
2 -  Sergio Tacchini – 17 points
3 – Groupama II – 18 points
4 – Foncia – 22 points
5 – Banque Covefi  – 26 points
6 – Géant – 27 points
7 – Sodebo -  28,4 points
8 – Sopra Group – 36 points
9 – Banque Populaire - 37 points
10 – TIM Progetto Italia  – 48 points

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