Sailing: Fiat chief backs Volvo entry

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The Independent Online

Fiat ceo John Elkann Agnelli announces tomorrow support for an entry into the next Volvo round the world race, due to start from Alicante in late 2011. A team to be skippered by solo ace Giovanni Soldini has already bought Ericsson 3, one of the two boats in the winning team in 2008-09 race, and will initially be based in Genoa.

Sailing with the backing of the Yacht Club Italia there will be a full presentation at the Genoa Boat Show on 4 October which will be joined by Kiwi America’s Cup team boss Grant Dalton in his new role as co-ordinator for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, part of the Aga Khan’s development at Porto Cervo, northern Sardinia. Dalton insists that a formal entry in the Volvo is subject to funding not yet in place, but he is thought to have been given assurances that a substantial budget is likely.

The Ericsson racing team, whose Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed Ericsson 4 was the runaway winner of the last race, has already announced that it will not compete next time.