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Battle intensifies for lead in Volvo Ocean Race.

Alicante, Spain Team Telefonica and Camper were yesterday swapping the lead back and forth between them in a close quarters battle to be first to the safe haven port during leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race.

By the 11am (UAE time) position report, Telefonica squeaked into a lead of 1.8 nautical miles, but by 2.30pm Camper had struck back to edge ahead just over half a nautical mile. The two teams have been within shouting distance of each other as they set up for a potential photo finish in the first stage of leg two from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi.

Camper co-skipper Stu Bannatyne said: "Boxing Day is appropriate because we have a full-on street fight right here with Telefonica over my shoulder.

"You can see it's going to be a pretty tight game all of the way. Guys are working, as usual, on getting every ounce of boat speed out of the boat. Conditions are pretty light so we are just trying to milk everything out of it as we go along, but it's going to be a long day."

Meanwhile, in third place, Ken Read has been able to draw PUMA Ocean racing powered by Berg 15 nautical miles ahead of Franck Cammas' Groupama sailing team, while Ian Walker's Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is still fifth, over 115nm behind.

Having taken the lead on Christmas Eve, Chris Nicholson's Camper had been steadily reeled in by the overall race leaders, Iker MartEaA[degrees]nez's Team Telefonica.

"[They have been] about four or five boat lengths, 100 metres away," said Telefonica watch captain Neal McDonald yesterday. "We have been like that for the last 20 hours."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Dec 27, 2011
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