April Fool's or bust for illbruck

Michael Illbruck tells Andy Rice he's pulling out of the America's Cup unless he secures sponsorship before 1st April
The first German entry for the America's Cup will be out before it has even begun, unless the illbruck Challenge can find some serious cash before 1st April this year. But head of the privately-owned German company funding the joint assault on the Volvo Ocean Race and the Cup, Michael Illbruck, told madforsailing he remains confident of finding the necessary commercial backing before the deadline. He said he was in negotiations with a German company at the moment but refused to reveal any hint of their name. "On Tuesday I felt 100 per cent confident of securing the necessary funding, but things have changed quickly," he said. "Now I would say I am about 60-70 per cent sure of securing what we need." He is looking for an injection of 18m Euros, the total budget for the America's Cup campaign, either from a sole title sponsor or from a family of four, of which illbruck would be one partner. He said he would drop the illbruck name if a title sponsor were to come in and make that demand, but he felt it would make sense to retain the illbruck association in any case, especially in light of the sailing team's stellar performance in the Volvo Ocean Race. Some experts had speculated that illbruck were already too far down the track to be serious about pulling out in April, but the CEO said he would be sticking to his guns. "We will have spent around US$3m by then, so there would still be huge cost in carrying on," he said. The new hull - No. 68 - for the single-boat campaign will have been completed by then, but Illbruck said they would keep the boat with a view to continuing on for the 2006 America's Cup. Illbruck gave no indication of