Sailing: Winning post in sight for Kostecki

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The Independent Online

After over 4,000 miles of tight racing from Rio de Janeiro, all could be decided in the last couple of hundred as the eight boats on the fifth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race approach the finish here today.

John Kostecki's lead had been whittled down to just 22 miles as he went into a last night, promising light and fickle winds.

Chasing him, Neal McDonald in Assa Abloy, who passed Kevin Shoebridge when Tyco blew a spinnaker, had to decide whether to concentrate on second place or attempt to outflank Kostecki at the last.

They both had a 50-mile cushion over fourth-placed Gunnar Krantz in SEB who, suffered rudder failure and a dismasting in two of the previous four legs and survived in this leg despite a collision with Illbruck and settling a shuffled crew.

Further back, and spitting tacks, Grant Dalton in Amer Sports One slipped to sixth place behind Jez Fanstone's News Corp, threatening his overall second place unless the navigational and tactical brains of Roger Nilson and Dee Smith produce a star play up the Gulf Stream in the last few hours.

VOLVO OCEAN RACE: Fifth leg positions with number of miles to finish (4,450 nautical miles, Rio de Janeiro to Miami): 1 illbruck (J Kostecki) 332nm to finish; 2 Assa Abloy (N McDonald) 354nm; 3 Tyco (K Shoebridge) 355; 4 SEB (G Krantz) 405; 5 News Corp (J Fanstone) 414; 6 Amer Sports One (G Dalton) 423; 7 Amer Sports Too (L McDonald) 488; 8 djuice (K Frostad) 537.