Volvo sponsor Olympic series

To be held in Germany - with prize money, reports Tatjana Pokorny

Thursday May 8th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected
The pre-Olympic year will open with a new Super Series in Germany. The first of three Volvo Champions Races is scheduled for this weekend, 8-12 May, in Constance, Southern Germany. Olympic sailors, world champions and top helmsmen from the international Tornado and 49er rankings will compete for 13.000 Euro prize money and points for the overall trophy, amongst them Australia´s Darren Bundock and Germany´s Roland Gäbler, the silver and the bronze medallists of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

There is a total purse of 35.000 Euro for the overall series champion. The other two events will take place in Schwerin (July 3 -6) and Travemünde (October, 9 12). The organizers, the Hamburg based event agency 4Sail Projects, and their main partner Volvo Car Germany, expect around 15.000 spectators to turn out to watch the racing during this action-packed weekend, full of sports and entertainment on and off the water including some great parties hosted by Volvo and the events co-partner Metaxa.

Thomas Hanel, member of the board of Volvo Car Germany, commenting on Volvo´s new engagement in Olympic sailing says: "We want to use our experience and our competence in sailing for our own event and thus enter a new arena from our perspective. The Olympic sport of sailing will always be the base of internationally successful sailors who later on might test their skills in the world´s premier offshore event, the Volvo Ocean Race Round the World. That's why we want to forge links between Olympic sailing and offshore racing."

There will be three days of racing on Lake Constance plus one day filled with warm-up races (Thursday). Darren Bundock from Australia will compete with his crew Glenn Ashby whilst Germany's three times World Champion Roland Gäbler is celebrating his Olympic comeback with crew Andreas John.

Gäbler who also acts as ambassador on behalf of the Volvo Champions Race, says: "In difficult economic times the event organisers of 4Sail Projects and title sponsor Volvo put a huge exclamation mark behind our efforts to modernise the sport. The idea of this new series is simply great and shows the right way into the future. For us sailors it is fantastic to sail close to the shore and feel and hear the support of the spectators. I guess we will have lots of fun there."

There will be teams from six different countries competing in the Tornado class, amongst them two Swiss crews and one each from the United States and Great Britain. Denmark´s Peter and Sören Hansen, ranked second in the currant ISAF world rankings, are leading the 15 entries in the 49er. The Swiss Champions and Olympic competitors Tom Ruegge and Jörg Steiner will be fighting for a top position in the 49er, as will their Austrian rivals Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch. But watch out for Marcus Baur!

The former European champion is back with his new crew Max Groy and is aiming towards another Olympic campaign. Baur came fifth in Syndey.

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