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  Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Assa Abloy piles on pressure
Swedish yacht Assa Abloy
Sweden's Assa Abloy was first into Gothenburg
Swedish team Assa Abloy won the eighth and penultimate stage of the Volvo Ocean Race, but Germany's Illbruck Challenge kept the overall lead.

Assa Abloy reached the Swedish city of Gothenburg at 2306 BST on Wednesday after a four-day trek from La Rochelle, France.

Assa Abloy was closely followed by Tyco and News Corp.

  Leg eight results:
1. Assa Abloy
2. Team Tyco
3. News Corp
4. Illbruck
5. Amer Sports One
6. Team SEB
7. Djuice
8. Amer Sports Too

Illbruck finished five minutes behind to take fourth place in the leg, but it maintained its overall lead with 54 points to Assa Abloy's 49, with one stage remaining.

A tightly-bunched fleet rounded Torungen Island off the coast of Norway earlier on Wednesday and raced toward the finish.

Assa Abloy put behind them a terrible start to gain the upper hand and lead the way into Sweden's second-largest city in overcast weather.

British team skipper Neal McDonald paid tribute to the boat's new sails at dockside.

"We were all pretty fired up. We had some new sails on board that we were very confident with and very quickly after the start realized were very fast."

  Overall standings after leg seven:
1. Illbruck - 54 pts
2. Assa Abloy - 49
3. Amer Sports One - 40
3. Team News Corp - 40
3. Team Tyco - 40
6. Team SEB - 29
7. Djuice Dragons - 25
8. Amer Sports Too - 11

The victory gives Assa Abloy a chance of overhauling long-term race leader Illbruck at the end of the last stage in Kiel.

"In terms of the race and my personal goals, the door's not shut yet," said McDonald.

"Were going to go out there beginning of the next leg with a realistic, but obviously hard chance of catching up."

Illbruck looked to have put the race beyond doubt after winning the seventh leg on 9 May.

But skipper John Kostecki now knows that his team have some racing to do if they are to top the podium at the end of this 32,000-mile odyssey.


I think that everyone would like to be in our position, we're pretty happy
John Kostecki
Skipper of Illbruck

"It was a tough leg. I think we sailed well, we had some bad breaks, and made some mistakes but we're still in the lead going into the last leg.

"It's a pretty good position. I think that everyone would like to be in our position, we're pretty happy."

Behind the lead boats, the race is hotting up for third spot.

Tyco's second place and News Corps third place in leg eight have brought both boats level with Amer Sports One, which placed fifth, and have set up a grandstand finish.

Team SEB, Djuice Dragons and Amer Sports Too round off the overall standings.

The ninth and final leg of the round-the-world race takes the fleet to Kiel, Germany and starts on 8 June.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Guy Swindells reports for BBC Sport
"Assa Abloy emerged as the winner"
Assa Abloy skipper Neal McDonald
"We were all pretty fired up"
Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Features

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