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  Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Illbruck captures Volvo title
Volvo Ocean Race winners Illbruck
Volvo Ocean Race winners Illbruck
Illbruck clinched the inaugural Volvo Ocean Race after finishing second on the ninth and final 250-mile leg to Kiel in Germany.

Norwegian boat Djuice won the stage after leaving three crew members behind to lighten the load.

But their German rivals came in 34 minutes later at 1816 BST to pick up the seven points needed to win the nine-month, 32,700-mile race.

Afterwards, Illbruck's delighted skipper, American John Kostecki, said: "We knew what were up against and what we had to do.

  Final standings:
1. Illbruck - 61 pts
2. Assa Abloy - 55
3. Amer Sports One - 44
4. Team Tyco - 42
5. Team News Corp - 41
6. Djuice Dragons - 33
7. Team SEB - 32
8. Amer Sports Too - 16

"We prepared for it and the team did a great job. At the end of the day it is the people, the teamwork, from on shore to the sailing team."

The German-backed crew were followed by hundreds of spectator boats, some from as far out as 70 miles from the finish, and were also greeted by exuberant fans as they docked.

"It was amazing. I've never seen anything like it before in my life," Kostecki said.

"It is so hard to explain to anybody that is not here the amount of support we have."

Assa Alboy, Illbruck's nearest challenger in the overall standings, finished third in the stage, two hours behind Kostecki's crew.


It's been torture - after 32,000 miles of ocean racing, it comes down to a buoy-filled lottery
Jez Fanstone
Skipper of News Corp

The Swedish team's British skipper Neal McDonald paid tribute to his boat at dockside.

"Our boat is beautiful. It's the best boat in the fleet and we've worked hard at it. It would have been nice to win - that was our initial goal - but we're happy with second."

The Volvo Ocean Race's other British skipper, Jez Fanstone, had a less enjoyable climax to his campaign on board News Corp.

After being within sight of a place alongside Illbruck and Assa Abloy on the final podium, Fanstone's team arrived last in Kiel to fall behind rivals Amer Sports One and Team SEB in the overall standings.

  Leg nine result:
1. Djuice Dragons
2. Illbruck
3. Assa Abloy
4. Amer Sports Too
5. Amer Sports One
6. Team SEB
7. Team Tyco
8. News Corp

"It's been torture. After 32,000 miles of ocean racing, it comes down to a buoy-filled lottery to a certain extent," he said.

But Fanstone was happy with his team's dedication over the nine-month voyage.

"The last few hours haven't worked out, but 36 hours out of nine months is a very small price to pay for what has been exhilarating, scary at times, happy experience with a fantastic team."

Amer Sports One skipper Grant Dalton benefited from News Corp's poor finish to seal third place overall.

The veteran Kiwi has said he will not participate again in this race - formerly known as the Whitbread Race - but was pleased with the spirit shown on his boat.


The boat is completely empty inside - thanks to the three guys on our team who stayed on shore to make us lighter
Knut Frostad
Skipper of Djuice

"The guys have stuck together. Third's not first, but this time a year ago, we didn't even have a boat."

Knut Frostad, skipper of stage-winners Djuice, paid tribute to the crew members who stayed behind to secure them the stage victory.

"We have taken off anything we don't need to have for the rules," he said.

"The boat is just completely empty inside. Just a couple of sails, and nine crew members all together.

"Many thanks to the three guys on our team who stayed on shore to make us lighter."

Djuice, Illbruck and Assa Abloy ensured they dominated the stage by taking a course around the east of Anhalt Island, in the Baltic Sea, in difficult conditions.

The epic round-the-world event began in Southampton in September and also visited Cape Town, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Miami.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Guy Swindells reports for the BBC
"It was a spectacular finish"
Illbruck's skipper John Kostecki
"We have a great team"
Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Features

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