As one of the Platinum-Sponsors AEOLUS Tyres congratulates the Dongfeng Racing-Team with their admirable result!
It was a close fight all the way to Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1 finish in Cape Town that saw the determined men of Dongfeng racing for China cross the finish line in second place at 15:22:48 UTC today 5th November, just 12 minutes and 4 seconds behind Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
From Dongfeng skipper, Charles Caudrelier: “As a team we might not have much experience in the Volvo Ocean Race but my men know how to fight and they fight for every 1 per cent. I have a great team around me and for leg 1 we are really happy,” said Charles. “We were not the favourites, we knew this, but I also knew we could do great things. I chose men that could fight.” In particular, the Dongfeng team includes a lot of solo sailors who are used to fighting for every metre in the very tough Figaro event in France – also a One Design class like the Volvo Ocean 65 – and are used to doing many different jobs onboard. A key factor in the crew selection to build a team that could support and train the Chinese sailors in the best way possible.
“You know for the Chinese guys it’s been the toughest race. They have never done proper offshore racing before; we all work together and without them we wouldn’t be here – it’s awesome what they’ve done. I’m proud of them and they can be proud of themselves; they are ready to help no matter what – they’re two fantastic guys.
“There is for sure a bit of frustration right at the finish, we thought we could come back. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has done a fantastic race and deserves this. We were not the favourite but we have a story to tell with the Chinese sailors and so if we can do both – teach them and have a good result – we are very proud of that. It has been a fight – I think the race is going to be very, very hard!
“It’s only the first leg and there are nine more to go. And we will have to start again with other Chinese guys onboard in the next legs – this is a key part of this project that we have embraced. But I am really happy we started like this and I feel we deserve it. It was not always easy in the build up to the start travelling from China to Europe then to the USA but it was necessary and the Chinese guys have been though a lot of training and they deserve this.
“We have no regrets – we had a few problems and we carried on, I’m proud of my men.”
Emotional and jubilant scenes erupted on the dockside of the Race Village in Cape Town as the crowds of family, friends and public welcomed the boats. For Chinese sailors Jiru Yang (Wolf) and Chen Jinhao (Horace), it was their first ever Volvo Ocean Race leg finish: “Although we had something unexpected happening during the leg, we managed to work it out instead of panicking,” said Wolf. “I think we all did a really good job in the past 25 days, and great teamwork for sure. I’m really proud to be one of the Chinese sailors onboard for the first leg and really proud to be a family member of this team.”
“I am a proud and relieved man today,” said Dongfeng Race Team Project Director, Bruno Dubois. “The guys have done an incredible job on this first leg supported by our great partners – Dongfeng Trucks who bought us ‘east wind’, Aeolus Tyres who were the ‘guardian of the wind’ and the City of Shiyan!” The team is backed principally by Chinese sponsors – Dongfeng Trucks (Title Partner), Dongfeng meaning ‘east wind’, Aeolus Tyres, Aeolus meaning ‘Guardian of the wind’ and the City of Shiyan (Platinum Partners). Zhang Qian, from Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles and Project Director of this Volvo Ocean Race campaign sent this message to the team: “Since the moment you set sail from Alicante, Spain, my heart has been sailing with you. Dongfeng arrived in Cape Town tenaciously, dealing with challenging conditions. Congratulations on your performance.”
Charles Caudrelier, Pascal Bidegorry, Chen Jinhao (Horace), Kevin Escoffier, Thomas Rouxel, Jiru Yang (Wolf), Martin Stromberg, Eric Peron and OnBoard Reporter, Yann Riou, can be very proud men today.
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