by Craig Heydon
The battle for the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship is set to get right down to the wire with the final round currently underway in Queensland.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011 - Hamilton Island HOOLIGAN
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is the fourth and final round of the 2011 championship with tight battles for the title in all three IRC classes.
The three class winners in the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship will be crowned following the final day of racing at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week on Saturday 27 August.
Audi Australia’s managing director, Uwe Hagen, says the battle for the championship lead has been great to watch, right from the first event.
'The spirited competition that we are seeing in this national championship highlights the competitive nature of sailing in Australia. All three IRC classes have been challenging for the crews and we are excited to see how this final round plays out this week. At this stage, it is anyone’s race to win an Audi A1 for a year,' Mr Hagen said.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week marks the culmination of a national championship which began with Audi Victoria Week back in January before the action headed north for the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta in March.
Australia’s leading keelboats got back into action last month with the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race with the competition tight at all events across all the three classes.
Heading into the final round, Marcus Blackmore’s TP52 Hooligan leads in Class A the way by just a single point, ahead of Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki.
Third placed Living Doll, owned by Michael Hiatt, is just two points further back setting up an exciting finale in the Whitsundays.
After the opening three rounds Class B is led by Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire, five points clear of Robert Reynold’s Exile with Paul Clitheroe’s Balance a further four points behind.
In Class C Peter Sorensen’s The Philosopher’s Club leads the way, ahead of Andy Kearnan’s L’Altra Donna while Peregrine, skippered by owner Ryan Walker, third overall.
Racing at Audi Hamilton Island Race week is a mix of windward –leeward courses and passage races, with crews having to be consistent throughout the week to ensure they’re in the mix at the end of the regatta.
For more information on the Audi IRC Australian Championship visit www.irc.yachting.org.au and for details on Audi Hamilton Island Race Week visit www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au.
The winner of each Class of the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship will receive the sporty and compact Audi A1 for a year. Audi IRC Australian Championship TV coverageThe 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship will go to air on ONE HD from Saturday 3 September at 6:00pm. This year's series will comprise of eight 30 minute episodes. The TV series is produced by Audi Australia and Fuzzy TV. Network Ten sports presenter, Rob Canning, is the host of the series and will be joined by expert commentators, Will Hagon and Neville Wittey.