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Dongfeng Race Team lead the Volvo Ocean Race.

Ten days after leaving port in Abu Dhabi, Dongfeng Race Team continue to hold the lead in leg three of the Volvo Ocean Race.

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But it is not a big advantage, with the fleet remaining tightly packed as less than 35 nautical miles separate the leading four boats.

The importance of the stage for Dongfeng is clear to see, with the finish in their home port of Sanya in China.

Victory for Charles Caudrelier and his crew would be the first time a Chinese boat has won a Volvo Ocean Race leg and would also take them top of the overall standings.

Dongfeng are far from secure in first place, as Team Brunel trail by just under 30 nautical miles.

The Dutch outfit share the overall lead with Dongfeng and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing after winning the previous leg between Cape Town and the United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi are also in contention - trailing Brunel by just over two miles in third.

Ian Walker's crew suffered from some tough conditions earlier in the leg, but fought back to stay in contention.

The six-strong fleet is expected to reach Sanya around January 25, but first has to navigate the Malacca Strait.

That is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and just 1.5 nautcial miles wide at its narrowest point.

With boats expected to arrive there on Saturday, it could prove a chance for the rest of the fleet to make ground on Dongfeng.

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