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30 April 2007, 10:16 pm
China Team Beats BMW
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Louis Vuitton Cup 2007
Valencia, Spain

It was a day of close racing and surprise finishes at the Louis Vuitton Cup where the bottom ranked China Team earned its first win of the competition over the leader, BMW ORACLE Racing, when the American team lost its headsail on the first upwind leg. And that was not the only upset to the form guide.

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The French Areva Challenge, disappointed with its Round Robin One performance, went out and won its first two matches of Round Robin Two, while +39 Challenge suffered two devastating losses in matches that were desperately close right up until the finishing line.

Conditions on Monday were excellent for racing, with sea breezes of up to 15 knots on both race courses. The wind eased later in the day, but never dropped below 9 knots.

Flight 2

Few would have expected BMW ORACLE Racing, leader after Round Robin One, to fall to the bottom ranked boat, China Team. But after showing better speed in the pre-start and early up the first beat, the headsail pulled out of the headfoil on the American boat. The BMW ORACLE Racing team eventually solved the problem and raised a genoa for the second upwind leg, but by then the deficit was too great, and China Team picked up an unexpected two points.

Pierre MAS (FRA), skipper of China Team, said the win was a reward for the entire team, 'It has made our team effort worthwhile, and in particular the shore team who have worked so hard to repair all the boat's problems. Today's race was an absolute delight for everyone but is by no means a reference point for us. Yesterday our race against Luna Rossa was more interesting because we had a really good upwind leg. Today we tried to avoid any kind of mistakes in these conditions and they are good points for the team.'

The French Areva Challenge led Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team for the entire first beat rounding just 8 seconds ahead at the top mark. Just short of the leeward gate, Areva helmsman Sebastian COL (FRA) luffed Mascalzone hard and in the process managed to put a penalty on the Italians for failing to keep clear. The Italians slipped around in the process, but were down a penalty. Areva had just pulled ahead by the weather mark where the Italians attempted to get rid of their penalty by luffing the French but the Umpires judged both boats clean. On the final run Mascalzone pulled ahead but not far enough to carry out their penalty turn in time, Areva earning a welcome win.

At the helm of +39 Challenge, Iain PERCY (GBR) did a great job locking Desafío Español 2007 out at the committee boat in their pre-start. The Italian team started ahead and after a prolonged tacking duel up the first beat, +39 sailed the Spanish off to the right side of the course rounding the weather mark 23 seconds ahead. +39 were looking comfortable with a 29 second advantage at the leeward gate until they broke their headsail sheet early on the next beat allowing the Spanish to regain ground. The Italians remained ahead but rounded the top mark for a second time with a precarious 9 second advantage. On the run, the Spanish were able to roll past +39 Challenge within sight of the finishing line to take the win by just one second.

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+39 Challenge vs Desafio Español 2007
© ACM 2007/Photo:Carlo Borlenghi
Team Shosholoza got ahead of United Internet Team Germany on the first beat and extended around the course to finish 1:23 ahead. Similarly after edging ahead of Victory Challenge on the first beat Luna Rossa managed a comfortable win, ahead by 27 seconds when they crossed the finishing line.

Flight 1 - Matches 4 and 5

The final matches from Flight 1 were held following Flight 2 on the south race course. In the race between Emirates Team New Zealand and Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team there was a massive tacking battle up the beat, the two boats evenly matched, until the New Zealanders benefited from a shift to help them around the weather mark. Emirates Team New Zealand extended down the run but almost lost their advantage on the second beat when a shift caused the Italian team to draw level. The New Zealanders rounded the top mark 33 seconds ahead and were safe for their victory when the spinnaker pole broke on the Italian boat, knocking a crew member overboard. He was grabbed and hauled back on board and the team proceeded to follow the Kiwis across the finishing line.

+39 Challenge had its second close race of the day, this time against the French Areva Challenge. The two boats were neck and neck up the first beat with +39 pulling ahead to round 17 seconds ahead at the weather mark, a lead they maintained at the leeward gate. But following a tacking duel on the second beat Areva pulled ahead to round the weather mark 7 seconds in advance. +39 kept it close on the run and in the latter stages managed to roll past to windward. After both boats put in a hasty final gybe for the line, the halyard came loose on +39's spinnaker causing it to bulge forward in front of the boat, dragging across the back of FRA 93, resulting in the Italian team picking up a penalty. But by this stag, close to the finishing line, the race already belonged to the French.

Areva helmsman COL put the team's success down to their focussed approach, 'It is necessary to know how to keep our heads clear and to analyze the situation well, especially with a fluctuating wind like we had today. We put two penalties on our opponents today, which shows the intensity of the duels. I really enjoy days like today…when it is true match racing! I hope there will be more races like we had today.'

Louis Vuitton Cup - Monday's Races

Flight 2

1. Team Shosholoza beat United Internet Team Germany. 1:23
2. China Team beat BMW ORACLE Racing. 3:15
3. Luna Rossa Challenge beat Victory Challenge. 0:27
4. Areva Challenge beat Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team. 2:06
5. Desafío Español 2007 beat +39 Challenge. 0:01.

Flight 1

4. Emirates Team New Zealand beat Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team. 0:25
5. Areva Challenge beat +39 Challenge. 1:11

Louis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin Two - Leaderboard
Pos Team Points - End of RR1 Matches Sailed RR2 Matches Won RR2 Pts
1 BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 98) 21 2 1 23
1 Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 94) 19 2 2 23
3 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 92) 18 1 1 20
4 Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 97) 17 1 1 19
5 Victory Challenge (SWE 96) 14 2 1 16
6 Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia (ITA 99) 14 2 0 14
6 Team Shosholoza (RSA 83) 12 2 1 14
8 Areva Challenge (FRA 93) 9 2 2 13
9 +39 Challenge (ITA 85) 6 2 0 6
10 United Internet Team Germany (GER 89) 3 2 0 3
10 China Team (CHN 95) 1 2 1 3

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, China Team scored their first win in the Louis Vuitton Cup against BMW ORACLE Racing:© Heike Schwab
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