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29 April 2007, 06:29 pm
Victory Fights Back To Beat Shosholoza
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Louis Vuitton Cup 2007
Valencia, Spain

A large spectator fleet on the north race course saw the first Flight of action in Round Robin Two of the Louis Vuitton Cup. A close battle between Shosholoza and Victory Challenge was the highlight of the day, although China Team had some surprises for Luna Rossa early in that match as well.

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On the south race course, racing was postponed less than a minute before the start, when a large wind shift rolled over the race course. Unfortunately, the shift signalled a dying breeze, and racing had to be postponed for the day.

The top two teams at the conclusion of Round Robin One picked up where they left off as both BMW ORACLE Racing and Luna Rossa Challenge earned relatively straightforward wins on the day.

Flight 1

In Flight One of Round Robin Two BMW Oracle Racing and Luna Rossa had what were billed as routine races against the two bottom teams United Internet Team Germany and China Team. True to form skipper Chris DICKSON's (NZL) San Francisco-based team got ahead early on the first beat and pulled away to finish 3:17 ahead, but the race was more dramatic between the Italians and Chinese.

A late dial up in the pre-start resulted in Luna Rossa starting nearly 30 seconds behind. Luna Rossa slowly dragged past China Team up the beat, but the Chinese rounded only 18 seconds behind the powerful Italian team. Luna Rossa extended down the run, rounded the leeward gate but as they began their upwind leg, China Team had to quickly gybe to avoid them as they had just started to drop their spinnaker. This caused the Chinese to drape the spinnaker over the side of the boat. It filled with water, stopping the boat for precious seconds before they let it run free in the water behind them. From then onwards, Luna Rossa romped away to get its first two points on the board for Round Robin Two.

There was also leeward gate action in the much closer battle between Victory Challenge and Team Shosholoza. After an early advantage to the Swedes, Shosholoza pulled ahead in the latter part of the first beat to round 31 seconds ahead at the weather mark. After swapping the lead twice on the run, Team Shosholoza was ahead coming into the leeward gate, pressed up close to the wind, following a big wind shift to the right. That is when the end of their spinnaker pole broke. The South Africans managed to stay ahead on the third leg, but their 16 second lead at the weather mark was not enough. With Shosholoza unable to use a spinnaker pole, Victory Challenge was able to overhaul them on the final run to win by 52 seconds.

Marc LAGESSE (RSA), navigator on Shosholoza revealed the extent of the team's disappointment, 'We all feel really down. It was such a tough day's sailing. Everyone did a great job on board. We had a good lead and then we broke the pole destroying any chance we had. I can't even begin to express the extent of our disappointment.'

The remaining Flight One matches on Juliet Course were postponed due to a lack of wind and will be held after Flight 2 on Monday.

Louis Vuitton Cup - Sunday's Races

Flight 1

1. BMW ORACLE Racing beat United Internet Team Germany. 3:17
2. Victory Challenge beat Team Shosholoza. 0:52
3. Luna Rossa Challenge beat China Team. 2:57
4. Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team
5. Areva Challenge vs. +39 Challenge

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 1 1 23
2 Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 94) 19 1 1 21
3 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 92) 18 0 0 18
4 Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 97) 17 0 0 17
5 Victory Challenge (SWE 96) 14 1 1 16
6 Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia (ITA 99) 14 0 0 14
7 Team Shosholoza (RSA 83) 12 1 0 12
8 Areva Challenge (FRA 93) 9 0 0 9
9 +39 Challenge (ITA 85) 6 0 0 6
10 United Internet Team Germany (GER 89) 3 1 0 3
11 China Team (CHN 95) 1 1 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, Luna Rossa had a surprise from China Team at the start of their race today:© Luna Rossa Challenge 2007 S.L./Bruno Cocozza
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