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4 May 2007, 06:35 pm
BMW Wins A Tight Battle
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Louis Vuitton Cup 2007
Valencia, Spain

BMW ORACLE Racing won the battle of the top teams over Luna Rossa Challenge in Flight 5, but the Italians recovered to win in Flight 6, climbing back to equal first place on points with the American team, who had a Flight 6 bye.

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Just one point adrift is Emirates Team New Zealand. Two wins by the Kiwis on Friday sees them as the only unbeaten team in Round Robin Two. At the other end of the spectrum, +39 Challenge remains winless in Round Robin Two, the only team yet to take a race.

Racing took place in classic Valencia sea breeze conditions with 10 to 12 knot winds from the southeast powering the Cup boats up and down the race course. The forecast for Saturday calls for slightly lighter sea breeze conditions.

Flight 5

BMW ORACLE Racing and Luna Rossa came into what was called the match of the day equal on points at the top of the leaderboard. Luna Rossa took an early lead up the first beat, although USA 98 was never far behind.

Down the run the Americans found better breeze on the right to draw almost level with the Italians at the leeward gate. James SPITHILL (AUS) opted for the left mark, Chris DICKSON (NZL) the right, and USA 98 hooked into some better breeze on its side of the course. For the third race in a row, the American boat came from behind and, once ahead, never relinquished the lead, taking the win by 19 seconds.

Desafío Español 2007 gave Emirates Team New Zealand plenty to think about up the first beat, as the boats traded numerous tacks. However Dean BARKER (NZL) was first to the layline and he controlled the Spanish for the remainder of the match, easing away to a 43 second win.

The other three matches were largely decided at the start. Victory Challenge nearly squeezed United Internet Team Germany out at the Race Committee boat and, although Jesper BANK (DEN) found a gap, he was forced to tack away for clear air. When the boats came back together, Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) was comfortably ahead.

Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN) steered Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia aggressively in the pre-start, pushing +39 Challenge over the line by just a fraction of a second. Iain PERCY (GBR) bore away to restart, but in the process the Umpires judged +39 to have infringed Mascalzone Latino. By the time +39 helmsman PERCY restarted, with a penalty against him, there was no chance of taking the fight to Mascalzone, who posted an easy win.

China Team led Shosholoza into the start of their match, but inexplicably Pierre MAS (FRA) kept steering for the line even when it was clear they would break the line early. They crossed three seconds early, and by the time they restarted, the South Africans were long gone up the race track, taking the win by 2 minutes 1 second.

Flight 6

Shosholoza and Emirates Team New Zealand had a bit of a tussle in the pre-start, but at the start gun they both came off the line at speed, the South Africans slightly faster. The teams exchanged a number of tacks up the first beat, with the Kiwis gaining the slightest of advantages as the leg progressed. At the first mark BARKER's crew led by just 10 seconds as Mark SADLER (RSA) and his crew kept up the pressure. It was a tight match all the way round, but the Kiwis held their nerve to win by 29 seconds.

Victory Challenge was nearly shut out at start, as PERCY looked to squeeze the +39 Challenge boat up to the Swedes and send them the wrong side of the Race Committee boat. That did not quite happen but HOLMBERG sought refuge in an early tack, and found salvation with good breeze on the right. Superior speed carried the Swedes to an untroubled victory.

United Internet Team Germany kept the match with Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia tight, but the Italians never really looked threatened. There were easy wins too for Luna Rossa over Areva Challenge, and more than a kilometre's lead for Desafío Español against China Team.

Louis Vuitton Cup - Friday's Matches

Flight 5

1. Victory Challenge beat United Internet Team Germany . 1:18
2. BMW ORACLE Racing beat Luna Rossa Challenge. 0:19
3. Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team beat +39 Challenge . 2:07
4. Team Shosholoza beat China Team . 2:01
5. Emirates Team New Zealand beat Desafío Español 2007. 0:43

Bye - Areva Challenge

Flight 6

1. Luna Rossa Challenge beat Areva Challenge. 1:16
2. Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team beat United Internet Team Germany. 0:34
3. Victory Challenge beat +39 Challenge. 1:03
4. Desafío Español 2007 beat China Team. 3:45
5. Emirates Team New Zealand beat Team Shosholoza. 0:29

Bye - BMW ORACLE Racing

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 5 4 29
1 Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 94) 19 6 5 29
3 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 92) 18 5 5 28
4 Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 97) 17 4 3 23
5 Victory Challenge (SWE 96) 14 6 4 22
6 Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia (ITA 99) 14 4 2 18
7 Team Shosholoza (RSA 83) 12 6 2 16
8 Areva Challenge (FRA 93) 9 5 2 13
9 +39 Challenge (ITA 85) 6 5 0 6
10 United Internet Team Germany (GER 89) 3 6 1 5
11 China Team (CHN 95) 1 6 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, Victory Challenge vs +39 Challenge:© ACM 2007/Photo:Carlo Borlenghi
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