If it wasn’t for the French passing Oracle Team USA in race three to capture their first win of the entire Luis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, the Americans would have topped the podium in Oman, instead of Land Rover BAR.
Even though the victory indirectly influenced the overall picture, the performance itself was a major benchmark for the French team.
“First race on board, it means a lot to win today,” said Adam Minoprio, who filled in as skipper for the injured Franck Cammas.
“We’ve come to this event to compete with the big teams and win races. We’re a new team on the circuit and America’s Cup, we have less experience of foiling than other teams. Every day we’re learning and improving to get to that level.
“It’s very good for confidence to win. We have great sponsors and the smallest budget. We’re small and fighting against the big teams.”
Coming into Oman, Groupama hadn’t finished higher than third in any of the races in Bermuda, Gothenburg or Portsmouth, but defied expectations in the final two races of day two.
Before their win, the French had their best result of the World Series by jumping to second place in race two. The day didn’t start promisingly, however, as they brought up the rear in the opening race and appeared headed for another lacklustre outing.
However, once they found their rhythm, especially off the starting line, they were hard to pass.
“We found our form and fixed the problems with our start, we were third in each of the next two races,” Minoprio said. “Yesterday, we were last to the reaching mark but I’m pretty happy with our start today.”
Groupama still have work to do to climb the overall World Series standings as they currently sit last heading to New York in May.
A potential return by Cammas, who will test his physical health in the interim, could boost their prospects as they continue to fight as underdogs.
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