The premiere of the new Volvo Champions Race has set a new level for first class sailing in combination with a great show in Southern Germany.
Over four days the world´s top Tornado and 49er sailors have turned Lake Constance into a spectacular racing arena. Despite the classical light winds that dominated the series, thousands of sailing fans enjoyed all the action-as it took place close to the shore
In the end the fleet did not find a way to stop the favourites in this new Sail Sports Show based on short intense races of not more than 14 to 16 minutes. Silver medallist in the 200 Olympic Games Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) are the new Tornado Volvo Champions, taking home 3.000 Euro in prize money. Three times World Champion and olympic Bronze medallist Roland GÄBLER (GER) surprised himself the most by coming second with his new crew Andreas JOHN and taking home 2.000 Euro whilst eight times World Champion Mitch BOOTH and Herbert DERCKSEN (NED) finished third taking home 1.500 Euro.
Danish Dynamite in the 49er: The Hansen Brothers, Peder and Soren HANSEN (DEN), won the series in convincing style including four firsts. The team from Aarhus finished on top of the rankings ahead of Marcel WALSER and Caspar BUETTNER (SUI) and Marcus BAUR and Max GROY (GER).
The winning crews were celebrated with their national anthems and awarded during a cheerful prize giving. Roland GÄBLER commented, "I never ever thought that we would be able to finish on the podium."
Only a few weeks after his olympic comeback Gäbler seems to be in perfect shape for his fourth olympic campaign. Still the 38 year old nine time European Champion keeps a realistic perspective," In stronger winds I would place ourselves within the top 15 at the moment."
Gäbler also commented on the new format of the Volvo Champions Race, saying , It was such a great event that every sailor in the olympic classes should take notice of. This tour alongside with events like the Volvo Ocean Race and the America´s Cup is showing the new modern face of sailing. This is the right way into the future."
Whilst there were a few thousend fans watching the races during day time, people also appriciated the night programme. More than 1000 celebrated together on Saturday evening´s Metaxa Night.
Thomas Hanel, member of the board of Volvo Car Germany and spokesman, is sure that his company has chosen the right concept, It has been a wonderful premiere. If we go on like this we will carry on with the series in 2004. Sailing is attractive for spectators - if they can see it. That´s what we are aiming at. With the Volvo Champions Race we want to create a new brand in national and international sailing representing the modern look of olympic sport. Additionally we want to show that olympic sailing still is the base for all racing sailors, especially those competing in the Volvo Ocean Race."
Olympic Silver medallist Darren Bundock did not only enjoy his own performance alongside with his Crew Gashby" but also the racing format that offered plenty of racing plus show parts to entertain the people. The Volvo Champions Race is fantastic for our sport. My special thanks to Volvo that they were brave enough to start a series like this. We will certainlybe back for the next two stopovers of the tour. We are looking forward to competing in Schwerin and Travemünde. Also because we expect more wind and thus more options to show people the exciting part of our such as speedraces."
The next stopover for the Volvo Champions Race will be in Schwerin (July 3 6) before the series ends in Travemünde (October, 9 12). Apart from the events prize money of each 15.000 Euro there will be an overall purse of 35.000 Euro to be split amongst the top eight teams in each class.
Overall Results Volvo Champions Race
1 Darren Bundock/Glenn Ashby (AUS) 23
2 Roland Gäbler/Andreas John (GER) 27
3 Mitch Booth/Herbert Dercksen (NED) 30
4 Peder Ronholt/Soren Jörgensen (DEN) 39
5 Andrew Landenberger/Johannes Polgar (GER) 43
6 Martin Rusterholz/Andy Heuss (SUI) 56
7 Nils Bunkenburg/Gunnar Struckmann (GER) 63
8 Christian Sach/Kirsa Sach (GER) 75
1 Peter Hansen/Sören Hansen (DEN) 15
2 Marcel Walser/Caspar Buettner (SUI) 20
3 Marcus Baur/Max Groy (GER) 24
4 Tom Ruegge/Jörg Steiner (SUI) 26
5 Jan-Peter Peckolt/Hannes Peckolt (GER) 35
6 Markus Steeg/Moritz Deml (GER) 39
7 Nico Delle-Karth/Nikolaus Resch (AUT) 46
8 Gabriel Wicke/Wolf Jeschonnek (GER) 48