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14 May 2007, 09:35 am
Semi Final Starts Today
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Louis Vuitton Cup 2007
Valencia, Spain

There are now just four challengers in contention for the Louis Vuitton Cup, where the Semi Finals are scheduled to begin on Monday afternoon. On Wednesday evening, Emirates Team New Zealand chose to race against Desafío Español 2007 in one pairing, leaving BMW ORACLE Racing to face Luna Rossa Challenge.

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On Saturday we learned the Kiwis and Luna Rossa will come in to the start box from the favoured starboard side for the first match after winning a coin toss. The teams will then alternate starboard entry for each race.

The Semi Finals are a different game from the Round Robin portion of the regatta. Now, the teams are paired head to head. The first team in each pairing to earn five points will advance.

'You hear that we're the favourite against Spain but sitting here right now, the score card is even and so I look it as two even teams going out there racing,' Terry HUTCHINSON, Emirates Team New Zealand tactician said at the opening press conference. 'You have to expect a full nine race series in the Semi Final and Final. I know we're prepared for a full nine race series against the Spanish and I think any other way would be naïve.'

'We had a rest, we've been watching the Emirates TNZ pre-starts and we've done some modifications to our boat,' explained Karol JABLONSKI, helmsman for Desafío Español, speaking about the four 'off days'. 'To race Team New Zealand is great for us. We've never beaten them, but we've had some close races and this is another chance. We're going to go out highly motivated and concentrated and try to do as well as we can. If it is enough to beat them, that's great. I know we have the potential.'

'You don't get to the Semi Finals of this competition without being at a really high level,' said Luna Rossa helmsman James SPITHILL when asked to assess his opponent. 'For us, we're doing our homework, and we're preparing for a good battle. It's going to be tough, and I'm expecting them to be aggressive and do a good job.'

'I wouldn't expect to see boats crashing too often,' said BMW ORACLE Racing skipper Chris DICKSON, after being asked about a collision between Luna Rossa and his team during Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 12, which saw the Italian team disqualified. 'We've had close races with Luna Rossa most times we've raced and I'm sure we're going to see some more.'

The Race Committee intends to conduct racing on one course on the Northern race area. Racing begins with a warning signal at 14:50 and a first race start at 15:00. Each team announced that it would be sailing the same boat that it used in the Round Robin.

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, NZL 92 on their way to victory over USA 98:© Chris Cameron/ETNZ
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