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Cliffhanger ending for Audi IRC Australian Championship

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ZETLAND, AUSTRALIA – Jan 29, 2013: The Audi IRC Australian Championship for 2013 has been decided with Geelong-based entry, Rob Hanna’s ‘Shogun V’ hitting the jackpot in the Class A championship in a cliffhanger finish to the nine-race series.

Very similar to the conditions of the 2012 Championship at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August 2012, the winning numbers didn’t drop until the lottery wheel was spun on the final day. In the end, a countback decided the overall winning boat in the Class A championship event, hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club from 24 – 27 January 2013.

‘Shogun V’ and ‘Hooligan’ (owned by Blackmore’s Marcus Blackmore), the 2011 and 2012 Audi IRC Australian Champion, both finished with 16 points. The countback decided Rob Hanna’s ‘Shogun V’ as the winner and ‘Hooligan’ overtaking ‘Calm 2’, which finished third on 18 points.

“That’s amazing, we thought Hooligan had it,” said a surprised Hanna as the news was relayed to him on the dock.

“We were first around the top mark, Hooligan went for a fractional spinnaker and we went for the big bag (spinnaker) and tried to hold it all the way across; fortunately we could,” a grinning Hanna said on what he believed was their winning move in the final 16 nautical mile special course that finished spectacularly off Hanna’s home club, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

When asked whether a win for the local lad would be popular, Hanna laughed “I hope so! It’s popular with me and my crew. There isn’t much to separate the TPs here; they are three very fast boats.”

After the results had been announced, runner-up Marcus Blackmore immediately shook hands with Hanna, who had dogged him all week, saying “They’ve sailed well and deserve to win.”

“It was unbelievable, it’s pretty amazing racing when you have three of the best TP52s in the world all trying to beat each other, and letting the other guys in occasionally. Unfortunately that’s what we did today. We had a Code O up and Shogun didn’t, then we got on the wrong side of a 20 degree wind shift,” Blackmore added.

Audi Australia was similarly excited with the close championship, with Audi Sailing Sport’s Nairn Johnston saying, “We would like to congratulate everyone involved in the 2013 Audi IRC Australian championship - Yachting Australia, Royal Geelong Yacht Club and the Festival of Sails, the volunteers, race management, yacht owners, crews and families.”

“We thank you for your support and commitment to sailing and the Audi brand. We are already planning and looking forward to the 2014 championship in Newcastle where we hope for an equally close fight for the prized title of Audi IRC Australian Champion.” Mr Johnston said.

Yachting Australia and Audi Australia announced that the 2014 Audi IRC Australian Championship will be held at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club in New South Wales. The Championship will be held over the Easter long weekend, with racing taking place between April 17 and 21.