Before the start of the last leg from Gothenburg to The Hague, 3 teams were in the joint first place, an unprecedented and thrilling situation. The “Winner Takes It All” leg proved to be nerve-wrecking where all 3 teams were at one point leading. However, Dongfeng Race Team dramatically took the lead and secured the win on 24 June 2018. The overall results make this the closest finish in the 45-year history of the race and marks the first win for a Chinese-flagged team. It also means Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou were on board as the first women sailors to win the Volvo Ocean Race.
The Dongfeng Race team is sponsored by Dongfeng Motor Group, the strategic alliance of Volvo Group. This is the second time the team participated in the race. In the 2014-15 edition they finished third. This time with encouragement and support from both Volvo Group and Dongfeng Motor Group, the Dongfeng Race Team headed to the 2017-18 competition. During the past 9 months, they have sailed 45,000 nautical miles around the world consisting of 11 legs. Dongfeng Race Team has been on the podium 7 times, including 1 first place, and 4 second places.
A spokesman for Dongfeng Motor Corporation said: “During this long and challenging Volvo Ocean Race, the full team has worked together through the physical and mental challenges presented by the most extreme sailing environment on earth. Dongfeng Race Team is the pride of the Dongfeng Group and it has set a great example for everyone in the company to follow, inspired by its team spirit and the way it fought for the ultimate goal. After two campaigns in this race, we have gained more than the sporting result. The race is beyond just competition - it is an ultimate test of human beings and a remarkable exploration of sailing culture”.
Skipper Charles Caudrelier proudly said “Our fantastic team is not only about the sailors - we were the strongest team because of everybody we had working behind us,” he said. “Each time we started a leg we knew the shore team had done everything for us and so I would like to offer them this victory – thank you to everybody in Dongfeng Race Team.”
Caudrelier also praised Dongfeng Motor Corporation, “Thank you to Dongfeng Motor Corporation because they trusted me so much since the beginning and gave me the opportunity to lead this dream team and I am so proud of them.”