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19 May 2007, 06:48 pm
BMW And Desafío Down To Final Chance
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Louis Vuitton Cup 2007
Valencia, Spain

BMW ORACLE Racing and Desafío Español must win their next four races if they hope to advance to the Final of the Louis Vuitton Cup. That is the grim reality facing both teams after they lost their matches on Saturday on the waters off Valencia, in front of an enormous weekend spectator fleet.

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The Italian Luna Rossa Challenge came into today's match having led BMW ORACLE Racing at every turning mark in their four contests to day. Under pressure to strike early, the skipper of the American team, Chris DICKSON (NZL), found himself in trouble during the pre-start, eventually taking two penalties. With such a big disadvantage coming off the starting line, the American team could never get back into the race and Luna Rossa streaked to the win and a 4-1 series lead.

In the other match, Emirates Team New Zealand came off the starting line later and slower than Desafío Español. But a small right hand shift allowed the Kiwis to get their nose in front and they extended from there. The Emirates team leads the series 4-1.

The first team to win five races in each series will advance to the Final. Racing continues on Sunday.

Match 1 - Luna Rossa Challenge beat BMW ORACLE Racing - DELTA 1:57

Luna Rossa Challenge's James SPITHILL (AUS) was powerful during the pre-start, throwing two penalties onto BMW ORACLE Racing and skipper DICKSON. The American team had been in danger of being shut out on the left side of the starting line, and DICKSON, on the 'give-way' port tack, attempted to cross ahead of the starboard tack Luna Rossa Challenge. The Umpires judged SPITHILL had to take evasive action and issued the first penalty.

Then, with both boats side by side on port tack, the stern of USA 98 swung into the side of ITA 94 when DICKSON tried to bear off to build up speed. That resulted in a second penalty, and from then onwards, the match was SPITHILL's to lose.

Luna Rossa played a good covering game from there, much tighter than in previous races, and Torben GRAEL (BRA) kept the Italian boat in phase with the windshifts, extending the lead on every leg. By the finish, with BMW ORACLE taking the second penalty on the finishing line, the finish delta was 1 minute 57 seconds.

Match 2 - Emirates Team New Zealand beat Desafío Español 2007 - DELTA 1:49

In the pre-start, Dean BARKER (NZL) tried to get the hook on Desafío Español but did not quite manage it. With the green boat to leeward, Karol JABLONSKI (POL) gently luffed BARKER up towards the line, forcing the Kiwi boat closer to the start line than BARKER would have liked. The Kiwis were forced to tack off towards the Race Committee boat and, by the time they tacked again to cross the line, the Spanish had moved to two boatlengths ahead.

The boats sailed on a long starboard parallel course, but gradually the Kiwis chomped back the lead. When the Spanish fell out of the line of breeze, the Kiwis sailed into the lead and took control of the race from that point. The Spanish tried to keep the game tight but New Zealand extended around the track to win by 1 minute 15 seconds.

Louis Vuitton Cup - Saturday's Semi Final Matches
(the first team to win five points in each pairing advances)

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Emirates Team New Zealand 1 1 0 1 1 4
Desafío Español 2007 0 0 1 0 0 1
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
BMW ORACLE Racing 0 1 0 0 0 1
Luna Rossa Challenge 1 0 1 1 1 4

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 lead BMW ORACLE Racing 4-1:© ACM 2007/Photo:Carlo Borlenghi
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