Itajai, Brazil - Former leaders Groupama will fashion a makeshift solution from the remains of their broken mast in an attempt to finish Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race on the podium, the team announced on Thursday.
The French team, skippered by Franck Cammas, will use parts of their broken 31-metre mast to make a so-called jury rig to sail the remaining 650 nautical mile leg to the finish line in Itajai, Brazil.
Groupama's dismasting on Wednesday ended their dreams of a second consecutive leg win, but with fourth-placed Camper Team New Zealand still carrying out repairs in Chile, a third place finish remains realistic.
"We will try to keep racing to Itajai with a jury rig to take the third place," Cammas said.
"It's a beautiful hope - there are 20 points to take and we are hanging on to that hope."
Groupama's shore crew arrived in Punta del Este in Uruguay on Thursday after a delay in flights due to strong winds.
Cammas said the team were weighing up how best to construct the temporary rig, and hoped to be back racing within 24 hours.
"We can either use the smaller part of the mast and leave this afternoon, or we can use the bigger piece to have more sail area up, but we would have to leave 20 hours later," he added.
Groupama were holding a narrow lead over Puma in the 6 700 nautical mile leg from Auckland to Itajai when the incident happened on Wednesday.
"We don't know why it broke," Cammas said. "It is very surprising for this to have happened after half a round-the-world trip in much worse conditions."
American team Puma, elevated to first place, had a 50-mile lead on second-placed Spanish crew Telefonica as the race entered its final 24 hours.
With Telefonica further from the coast in better weather conditions, race officials predicted the leading two could be split by no further than a few miles on the final sprint to the finish line.
The leading boats are expected to cross the line around 16:00 GMT on Friday.
Overall standings after four of nine offshore legs:
1. Telefonica (Spain) 122 points; 2. Groupama 107; 3. Camper/ETNZ (Spain/New Zealand) 104; 4. Puma (United States) 83; 5. Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) 55; 6. Sanya (China) 25.