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25 April 2007, 07:13 pm
BMW Leads The Fleet
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Louis Vuitton Cup 2007
Valencia, Spain

For the second consecutive day, good racing conditions blessed the waters off Port America's Cup in Valencia and two full flights of racing were completed. Conditions were ideal for America's Cup racing with winds up to 13 knots on the south race course and between 6 and 10 knots on the north race area.

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BMW ORACLE Racing remains the only team to be undefeated at the Louis Vuitton Cup, today securing a win over Areva Challenge in Flight 7. The Americans are at the top of the table, one point ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand.

It was also a big day for the home team of Desafío Español who earned two wins to climb the leaderboard. The Spanish side made a nice passing move over Shosholoza in the last match of the day, diving inside the South African team around the windward mark to eke out a small advantage. The Spanish extended to win the race and move into fifth place overall.

Flights 8 and 9 of Round Robin One are scheduled on Thursday when a frontal system is expected to bring cloudy skies, the possibility of rain and an easterly 10 knot breeze.

Flight 6

After their close race earlier with BMW ORACLE and following a big win over Luna Rossa yesterday, all eyes were on Team Shosholoza as they lined up with the top challenger on the Louis Vuitton Ranking, Emirates Team New Zealand. The two boats were evenly matched out of the start and after a long tack out to the left, Paolo CIAN (ITA) at the helm of the South African boat tacked towards the Kiwi boat. The two boats carried out an extensive tacking duel up the first beat, with Emirates Team New Zealand slowly pulling away to round the weather mark 23 seconds ahead. While the New Zealanders were unable to extend dramatically over the South Africans, they did manage to slowly gain seconds on each leg to win by 1:23.

Surprisingly the closest match of this flight was between Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team and United Internet Team Germany. At the helm of the German boat Jesper BANK (DEN) and his team chose well in heading right and despite being the underdog kept it close with the Italians during a tacking duel off towards the starboard layline. The two boats were metres apart all the way up the beat, but the Italians slowly pulled away rounding the top mark with a 22 second advantage. The German team was unable to threaten the Italians in any great way for the remainder of the race, although they made nice gains from a shift on the final run to finish just 24 seconds behind.

Areva Challenge did equally well in its race against Luna Rossa, but still fell short of winning. Following their two defeats yesterday, the Italians added a welcome two points to their total on the scoreboard, with Areva finishing just 33 seconds behind. Victory Challenge sailed +39 Challenge over the port layline, then extended to win by 55 seconds while, as expected, Desafío Español dispatched China Team without drama.

Flight 7

Team Shosholoza came good once again in the entertainment stakes in its match with Desafío Español. Held on the south course, this race started in winds gusting near 15 knots - the most seen so far at this Louis Vuitton Cup.

Shosholoza was nearly locked out at the committee boat end of the start line but won the favoured right while the Spanish charged away toward the pin. The two boats took a long leg out to the left side with Shosholoza a nose ahead. After a tacking duel, the boats still neck and neck, Shosholoza narrowly led around the weather mark with the Spanish on their transom. But the South Africans appeared to have problems on their spinnaker hoist, while the Spanish crew work was slick and with a faster hoist on ESP 97, the Spanish drew level and then slowly pulled ahead. From the leeward gate rounding where they were 20 seconds astern, the South Africans were never again in contention. The only minor hiccup came when a bowman on the Spanish boat briefly fell overboard as they rounded the leeward gate, but he was retrieved by the crew as they passed by.

A surprisingly close match took place between two of the Italian teams as Luna Rossa and +39 Challenge had a good battle. On the first beat Iain PERCY's (GBR) team on +39 claimed the right, putting them ahead of Luna Rossa. This situation remained the same in spite of a prolonged tacking duel out towards the starboard layline. +39 Challenge was in good shape leading into the weather mark until they tacked too early, following an aggressive luff from Luna Rossa helmsman James SPITHILL (AUS). The two extra tacks into the mark let the powerful Luna Rossa through and from there they went on to win by 1:22.

In BMW ORACLE Racing's match against Areva Challenge, Larry ELLISON's (USA) well polished team pulled ahead on the first beat, ultimately finishing the race ahead of the French team by an impressive 2:54 margin. Similarly despite a brave pre-start from BANK at the helm of United Internet Team Germany, Emirates Team New Zealand outshone the German team and finished ahead by more than one minute.

Finally Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team race turned into a walkover when China Team suffered damage half way up the first leg of the race course and were forced to retire.

Louis Vuitton Cup - Wednesday Races

Flight 6

1. Luna Rossa beat AREVA Challenge. 0:33
2. Victory Challenge beat +39 Challenge . 0:55
4. Desafío Español 2007 beat China Team. 2:01
5. Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team beat United Internet Team Germany. 0:24
6. Emirates Team New Zealand beat Team Shosholoza . 1:23

Bye - BMW ORACLE Racing

Flight 7

1. BMW ORACLE Racing beat AREVA Challenge. 2:54
2. Luna Rossa Challenge beat +39 Challenge. 1:22
4. Emirates Team New Zealand beat United Internet Team Germany. 1:03
5. Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team won, China Team did not finish
6. Desafío Español 2007 beat Team Shosholoza . 0:57

Bye - Victory Challenge

Louis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin One - Provisional Leaderboard
Pos Team Bonus Points Matches Sailed Matches Won Pts
1 BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 98) 3 6 6 15
2 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 92) 4 6 5 14
3 Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 94) 3 7 5 13
4 Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia (ITA 99) 2 6 5 12
5 Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 97) 3 6 4 11
6 Victory Challenge (SWE 96) 2 6 4 10
7 Team Shosholoza (RSA 83) 2 7 3 8
8 Areva Challenge (FRA 93) 1 6 2 5
9 United Internet Team Germany (GER 89) 1 7 1 3
10 +39 Challenge (ITA 85) 2 6 0 2
11 China Team (CHN 95) 1 7 0 1

The America's Cup Match and Challenger/Defender Series are designated as ISAF Special Events. For more information on the America's Cup, the Louis Vuttion Acts and the teams competing, visit the official America's Cup website - www.americascup.com.

For a complete list of all the news about the America's Cup 2007 CLICK HERE.
ACM 2007 (As Amended By ISAF). Image, BMW lead the way in Valencia:© Gilles Martin-Raget
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