French race leader Armel Le Cleach on Monday set a new speed record in the Vendee Globe solo round the world yacht race as he crossed Cape Leeuwin five days earlier than Francois Gabart in 2012.

Fellow Frenchman Gabart saw Le Cleac'h crush his mark as the skipper of Banque Populaire VIII crossed the virtual line off southwestern Australia after 28 days 20 hours and 12 minutes at sea since leaving the French coast.

Le Cleac'h had a 103.85 nautical miles lead over Briton Alex Thomson of Hugo Boss as he sped towards the finish line, still 13,361 miles away.

As the leading pair jostled for position, third-placed Sebastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild) saw his vessel suffer a broken foil and had to set about making repairs, hitting his hopes of catching up a daunting 675-mile deficit.

Positions around 1700 GMT:

1. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA/Banque populaire VIII) 13,361 nautical miles from the finish

2. Alex Thomson (GBR/Hugo Boss) at 103.85 miles

3. Sebastien Josse (FRA/Edmond de Rothschild) 675.66

4. Paul Meilhat (FRA/SMA) 1194.2

5. Jeremie Beyou (FRA/Maitre Coq) 1441.75

6. Yann Elies (FRA/Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir) 1703.38

7. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA/StMichel-Virbac) 1917.33

8. Jean Le Cam (FRA/Finistere Mer Vent) 2179.9

9. Thomas Ruyant (FRA/Le Souffle du nord) 2300.7

10. Kito de Pavant (FRA/Bastide Otio) 2969.17


15. Conrad Colman (USA-AUS/Foresight Natural Energy) at 3990.5

19. Rich Wilson (USA/Great American IV) 4389.7