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  Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Fanstone eyeing podium finish
Team News Corp celebrate their win on leg six of the Volvo Ocean Race in Baltimore
Team News Corp held off Amer Sports One in Baltimore
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By Rob Hodgetts
BBC Sport Online
line

Teams News Corp's Jez Fanstone is upping the ante in the race for a podium finish at the end of the Volvo Ocean Race in Kiel.

And the leg six-winning skipper is not ruling out overhauling leader Illbruck for outright victory in the round-the-world race.

News Corp's tense win in Baltimore closed the gap on Illbruck to 10 points and brought them to within one point of third-placed Assa Abloy and three behind Amer Sports One.

Fanstone's crew clinched their cherished leg win after 875 miles and just over three days of intensely competitive light-wind racing.


We're not discounting the lead but we're looking to get on that podium in Kiel
Team News Corp

But they are now intent on pushing the leading boats on leg seven, which starts from Annapolis on Sunday on route to La Rochelle on France's West Coast.

"To do what we always intended to do is great but after a bit of euphoria it's back to reality," Fanstone told BBC Sport Online from Baltimore.

"We took three points off Illbruck here and they'll be hard to beat.

"But there will be an opportunity if they encounter problems - as most boats have already - to close the game.

"So we're not discounting the lead but we're looking to get on that podium in Kiel.

"We've always had a good boat, a good crew and good sails and this time we got some good breaks and got all the ingredients right.

"Leg six suited us. We had good speed right from the start of the leg and that gave us confidence."

Team News Corp skipper Jez Fanstone after winning leg six of the Volvo Ocean Race in Baltimore
Fanstone has strengthened the brains trust for leg seven

In fact Team News Corp were too confident at the start, getting a flyer and taking six of the eight boats over the line with them.

"We were a little bit too keen at the start," admitted Fanstone. "We thought we had it nailed."

But his crew quickly clawed back the lost ground and in the final 36 hours they were locked in a close-range tussle with the three boats in front of them in the standings.

"I can't remember ever being so awake when I have had so little sleep," said Fanstone. "I was pretty tense so resting wasn't an option.

"On the last day from day break until the finish at 0200 local time we had boats in sight.

"Everybody was fully on edge and fully focused. But looking back it was very satisfying."

Ice

For leg seven, Team News Corp have recruited on-board computer specialist and navigator Cameron Field, team chief Ross' son, to bolster the brains trust alongside tactician Matt Humphries.

Fanstone said: "It will be a very interesting leg.

"We've got to get out of the Chesapeake again without running into crab pots, and then cross the Gulf Stream.

"Then we've got ice to contend with before crossing the Atlantic.

"So it's a very different leg which will require heavier sails, more food and different clothing.

"But as the last open ocean leg of this race we'll make the most of it because we won't be back here for a while."

After arriving in La Rochelle, the 37,000-mile race will put in at Gothenburg, Sweden, before finishing in Kiel in June.

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