BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Special Events: 2001: MacArthur in the Mondial  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 06:51 GMT 07:51 UK
MacArthur clinches victory
Ellen MacArthur and her skipper Alain Gautier celebrate victory in the Challenge Mondial race. Photo copyright www.martin-raget.com
Ellen and her crew celebrate their last-gasp victory
Ellen MacArthur produced a thrilling sprint finish to pip French rival Belgacom to victory in the 3,000-mile Challenge Mondial race.

After 12 days and 3,000 miles, her boat Foncia came from behind to cross the line in the Spanish port of Tarragona just a few minutes ahead of Jean-Luc NÚlias' 60ft trimaran, Belgacom.

It was an unusually close finish for such a long race, which began in Cherbourg on 12 May, and MacArthur was thrilled.

"It was a fantastic finish. We were just behind the other boat for most of the night and thought we wouldn't be able to overhaul them," she told BBC Five Live.

"But as the finish line came in sight we crept over to the east and popped out in front right at the death."

Ellen MacArthur
MacArthur: Superb victory
The leaders had been expected to finish as early as Sunday but exceptionally light winds saw the boats virtually becalmed in the Mediterranean.

Since the first four boats passed the Azores eight days ago, they have sailed within sight of each, trading the lead all the way home.

At one stage on Tuesday, Groupama looked set to move into a decisive lead.

But skipper Franck Cammas was hit by a 15-minute penalty which saw him slip to third.

In the end Cammas finished almost four hours behind Foncia, although still in third place.

The race committee imposed the penalty after he owned up to briefly switching on his engine to prevent Groupama going aground.

Freak wave

Yvan Bourgnon's Bayer, which fell back during a windless night to sit 20 miles off the pace. came home fourth an hour later.

La Gitana IX finished fifth, nearly two full days after the winner.

It was an action-filled race, with three or the original eight competitors forced out through boat damage.

The crew of La Trinitaine had to be rescued by helicopter from the middle of the Atlantic when a freak wave ripped a hole in one of the outriggers.

The race, the first in the French trimaran season, took competitors from Cherbourg in France to Tarragona in Spain via the Atlantic islands of the Azores.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ellen MacArthur
"It's fantastic for the whole team"
Ellen MacArthur - BBC Sport
"We just worked together and seemed to achieve the impossible, crossing the line first"

Challenge Mondial race

Ellen's diary

Clickable guides

Mondial Background

Vendee Globe

BBC COVERAGE

AUDIO/VIDEO

SPORTS TALK

INTERNET LINKS
Links to more MacArthur in the Mondial stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more MacArthur in the Mondial stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales