Telefonica in contention


SAILING:FOLLOWING MAJOR gear failure, a frantic recovery operation brought Iker Martinez and the Spanish Telefonica team back into contention for the penultimate leg of the Volvo Ocean Race that is expected to end in Lorient by lunchtime today.

As gale force winds lashed the six boat fleet crossing the Bay of Biscay from the Azores, the highest boat speeds of this edition of the race were set by the leaders.

Race leader Franck Cammas on Groupama 4 regained the lead of this eighth stage after their mainsail jammed on Wednesday preventing the crew from reducing sail area ahead of the gale that extends as far as Ireland.

Yesterday saw Martinez turn suddenly away from the optimum course just hours after setting a race record pace of 560 miles in a 24-hour period.

The team reported they had broken one of the twin rudders that control steering.

An emergency rudder was fitted and last night the Spanish entry was again achieving average speeds of 27 knots placing them neck and neck with the French leader.