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America's Cup 2003 for illbruck Challenge

by Jane Egleson on 2 Mar 2001
illbruck Challenge Prepares Racing Team for America's Cup 2003

Leverkusen, Germany, March 1, 2001 - The illbruck Challenge continues its America's Cup preparations with the launch of its match racing program in Laboe, Germany and the signing of its Volvo Ocean Race crew for the America's Cup, illbruck Challenge skipper John Kostecki announced today. In addition, two German sailors were signed to the team this week.

Joining the illbruck Challenge team are Gunnar Knierim and Arne Wilcken of Kiel. Both sailors competed for many years with illbruck's 'PINTA' campaigns. 'I have raced with Gunnar and Arne many times in the 'PINTA' programs and during our Volvo Ocean Race training in Europe,' Kostecki said. 'They are both solid sailors and a great addition to the team.'

Knierim and Wilcken were both with the winning German Admiral's Cup team in 1993 with 'PINTA' and 'Container' respectively. Both Knierim and Wilcken will compete with the illbruck Challenge match race team in international match race events. Match racing is the one-on-one format of sailing used in America's Cup competition.

The match race team is training for their first regatta later this month in Portugal. Match Race Team Manager Morten Henriksen is coaching the team and also trying out potential recruits for the America's Cup sailing program.

Some of Germany's top sailing talent, including three of the five German male Olympic medallists from the Sydney Games, are training with Henriksen in Laboe, close to Kiel in northern Germany. Taking part in the match race program are Gunnar Bahr and Ingo Borkowski, Olympic Soling crew for Jochen Schuemann. Their credentials include one-time European Champion in fleet race Soling, one-time World Champion in Soling match racing and silver medallists at the Sydney Olympic Games. German sailing talent Marc Pickel, the former European Star champion who represented Germany in the Star class in the Sydney Olympic Games, finishing 12th overall, and three-time Tornado World Champion Roland Gaebler, who earned an Olympic bronze medal representing Germany in the Tornado Class in Sydney, are now training with the illbruck Challenge match race team.

'We are fortunate to have some of Germany's top sailing talent training with us in Laboe,' Henriksen said. 'We have done some starting practice and have very quickly achieved a competitive level,' Henriksen said. The team is practicing with two Beneteau 25s from a base in Laboe, Germany.

With the development of the match race team, the America's Cup program is quickly taking shape. In addition, the 13 illbruck Challenge race crew competing in the Volvo Ocean Race have all signed on for the America's Cup program. In addition to illbruck Challenge skipper John Kostecki, the race crew includes Stuart Bannatyne, Stuart Bettany, Mark Christensen, Richard Clarke, Ray Davies, Dirk de Ridder, Noel Drennan, Jamie Gale, Ross Halcrow, Tony Kolb, Ian Moore, and Juan Vila. All non-German nationals on the crew have established residency in Germany and now qualify to compete for Germany in America's Cup 2003.

The illbruck match race team will compete on the international circuit while the illbruck Volvo Ocean Race crew is competing in the around-the-world race. The match race team will be joined by Kostecki and other illbruck Challenge race crew as the schedule permits. Henriksen will continue in a coaching role with the illbruck race crew following the completion of the Volvo Ocean Race in June 2002 when the entire sailing team will then focus together on training for the America's Cup.

The illbruck Challenge is a competitive international sailing program that over the past 30 years has earned success at many of the world's top regattas. The illbruck Challenge is now pursuing the world's two pinnacle sailing events: the Volvo Ocean Race, the world's premier ocean race, and the America's Cup, the world's top match racing event. The illbruck Challenge is representing the Dusseldorfer Yacht Club in Germany's first-ever Challenge for the America's Cup, the competition for the oldest international trophy in sport.

illbruck GmbH is a privately held international company with autonomous business units including Automotive, Sealant Systems, Bath Installation Systems, Architectural Surfaces, and Filtration Systems/Insulation Systems. Founded in 1952, illbruck has 35 locations in15 countries worldwide and is headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany. The illbruck Challenge embodies the philosophy of the illbruck company: success through motivation, flexibility and team spirit. The illbruck Challenge is the image medium and primary vehicle for illbruck's global and internal corporate identification.

For more information, photos or TV footage (Volvo Ocean Race training, crew and AC tank testing) contact Jane Eagleson, illbruck Challenge, Director Marketing Communications, Mobile +49-174-978-5273 or visit the illbruck Challenge website at

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