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Sailing: Fiat chief backs Volvo entry

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.