Thursday, September 16, 2010

France’s Groupe Bel will participate in the Barcelona World Race with Kito de Pavant and Sébastien Audigane

[Source: Barcelona World Race] French duo Kito de Pavant and Sébastien Audigane have confirmed that they will take the start line of the Barcelona World Race on board Groupe Bel, the IMOCA Open 60 which Kito de Pavant has already sailed the equivalent of twice around the world, and which carries the well known ‘Laughing Cow’ brand logo.

“Seb has so much experience and is very strong and accomplished on the water. And he is a real authentic sailor who looks and feels most at home on the water, really at one with the elements. Partners like Seb are very hard to find” says Kito.

Sébastien is enthusiastic about joining Kito on board Groupe Bel: “The Barcelona World Race is a great race which brings together top level international sailors to race two-handed non-stop around the world. With this project Kito has created a really solid, competitive campaign and to be able to go and share in this chapter will be a great pleasure. We find we don’t need to speak much, everything works with a glance and a gesture. And we like to share in the same pleasures and challenges of adventures at sea. It is really great to be able to share them, the good times, and also when it becomes more challenging, with a friend like Kito is.”

Bel is an international group which sells its products in 120 different countries, and generates 80% of its income outside of France. For the whole group, to take part in a truly global event like the Barcelona World Race enhances both the internal and external benefits of their sailing partnership.

Guillaume Jouët, Communication director of the Groupe Bel, comments: “We want to offer our clients and partners an extreme international adventure and that is exactly what the Barcelona World Race is about. This developemnt corresponds to that of our own group, its saling sponsorship programme and its skipper. Especially Sébastien and Kito have a lot in common and bringing their skills together is excellent.”

Kito is looking forward to race Groupe Bel around the world for the first time. “I am very happy to take part in this great race that the Barcelona World Race is and I feel incredibly lucky to have such an enthusiastic partner in Groupe Bel. Our IMOCA Open 60 is designed to race round the world and so it will be great to do it. We made good preparations for the 2008 Vendée Globe but had to retire soon after the start when the rig broke. Since then we have optimized the boat. Our team is well proven and very consistent.. We feel well set up and ready for this challenge.”

Kito de Pavant is one of the most prominent French solo sailors. He has fought many battles in the demanding Figaro Class, winning three brilliant victories in the Class’ most prominent races: the 2002Solitaire du Figaro, the 2006Transat AG2R and the 2006 Solo Med. In the IMOCA Open 60 Class he finished second in last autumn’s Transat Jacques Vabre with Groupe Bel, (he finished third in 2005) and second in the 2009 Race Istanbul Europa Race, with Seb Audigane on board.

Among other achievements in his outstanding sailing career, which includes extensive multihull sailing, he has completed two Indian Ocean, one Pacific and China Sea and 40 transatlantic crossings.

Sébastien Audigane is a speed specialist in ocean multihulls. He achieved the 24-hour speed record in 2009, covering a distance of 907 miles, the North Atlantic record in 2009, the 2007 Discovery Route and the 2005 Jules Verne Trophy which he has done five editions.

He has a wide experience in the IMOCA Open 60 Class, having participated in campaigns with Roland Jourdain, Yann Eliès, Marc Guillemot and Johnny Malbon before teaming up with Kito on board Groupe Bel.

Born in 1968 in Brest, Sébastien, like Kito, is an expert in the Figaro Class, having entered the Solitaire du Figaro seven times and the Transat AG2R three times.

Andor Serra, Director General of the Barcelona Foundation for Ocean Sailing (FNOB), organizer of the Barcelona World Race, welcomed the participation of a team of such standing in the race: "We are delighted to see another French team with such outstanding skippers as Kito and Seb joining the Barcelona World Race. The event has been considered a good international platform to project themselves globally by Groupe Bel which gives us considerable satisfaction and encouragement to continue on our course. "



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