Winners Crowned in the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship

The 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship has come to an end following the completion of the fourth and final event, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, with three national Audi IRC Australian Champions crowned in 2011.

Heavy winds tested the crews from all three classes of the championship at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week with many in IRC Classes A, B and C pushed to their limits in the Whitsunday’s.

Luxury carmaker, Audi, is the largest corporate sponsor of competitive yachting in Australia and kicked off this national championship series five years ago as a way to recognise the top performers in sailing.

With the championship running over four major events in NSW, Victoria and QLD, Audi, in conjunction with Fuzzy TV, has produced an eight-part television series which will air on ONE from this Saturday 3 September at 6pm. The program runs until 22 October and covers every major regatta that forms part of the national championship.

Racing in the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship kicked off with Audi Victoria Week back in January before the crews headed north for the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta in March.

Round three had the yachts racing north in the 384 nautical mile Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race before the final hit-out on the waters around Hamilton Island.

The crews competing in the Audi IRC Australian Championship were split across three classes with the use of a new Audi A1 for a year on offer for the three national champions.

Marcus Blackmore’s TP52 Hooligan won Class A, an impressive result in its first season racing in Australia. Blackmore and his crew were consistently at the front of the fleet with their win at Hamilton Island complementing their victories in Victoria and Sydney, and their fourth place in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.

Hooligan was pushed all the way by Stephen Ainsworth and Loki, who finished three points behind in second overall. Third place was claimed by Living Doll, owned and skippered by Michael Hiatt, with the Victorian based boat finishing just a point behind Loki after four rounds.

Class B was won by Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire with the crew finishing with a comfortable five point victory over Robert Reynolds’ Exile. Third place in Class B was claimed by Paul Clitheroe’s Balance.

The Philosopher’s Club, owned and skippered by Peter Sorensen claimed Class C, with the second at Hamilton Island giving the crew a three point series win over Andy Kearnan’s L’Altra Donna, with Andrew Hurt’s Onya third.

All three national champions were awarded their Audi A1 vehicle at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011. Audi’s managing director, Uwe Hagen, made the presentation to each of the winning crews.

“For Audi, it was a great championship. The crews were highly competitive, highly focused and very competent. It’s exactly the kind of spirited competition that we love to encourage. It makes the events exciting to watch and you always appreciate a win much more if you have to fight for it,” Mr Hagen said.

Its this spirited and competitve nature of professional sailing that goes hand- in-hand with Audi’s core values of sportiness, progressiveness and sophistication. The progressivess of using high-tech, lightweight materials combined with the latest techonologies in boat design, make Audi’s sponsorship of sailing in Australia a natural fit.

With racing in the Audi IRC Australian Championship now finished for the year, it’s the perfect time to settle in and relive all of the action.

An eight-part TV series covering the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship begins this Saturday, 3 September, on ONE HD at 6pm. The 8-part series runs every Saturday until 22 October 2011.

Network Ten’s Rob Canning hosts the series, along with expert commentators, Will Hagon and Neville Wittey.

If you miss the action on Saturday, all eight episodes will be repeated at 5pm on Sundays, with the first episode an ideal way to wrap Father’s Day this Sunday.

For more information on the Audi IRC Australian Championship visit www.irc.yachting.org.au.

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