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4 November 2002, 11:58 am
Louis Vuitton Cup - Quater Final Draw
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Prada (ITA) Vs.Alinghi (SUI)©Franck Sacha/Louis Vuitton

America's Cup

The Swiss-based Alinghi Challenge has decided to race the defending champions, the Prada Challenge in the Quarter-Finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
As winner of the two Round Robin series, Alinghi had earned the right to pick its opposition from the top four ranked teams for the next stage of the competition.

The decision means Oracle BMW Racing will line-up against the OneWorld Challenge when racing resumes on Tuesday, 12th November.

Michel Bonnefous, the executive director of Alinghi Challenge said it wasn't an easy decision.

"The choice was difficult to make because the three teams are all at the highest level of competition. We believe that Prada is the logical choice to race at this stage of the competition. We expect it to be an extraordinary series of matches, sure to incite passion and excitement in Europe."

Those top four teams make up the 'Double-Chance Group' for the Quarter-Finals. The winners of the matches advance directly to the Semi-Finals. The losers get another chance to stay in the competition in the Quarter-Final Repechage.

In the lower tier of competitors, the 'Single-Chance Group', the fifth placed Swedish Victory Challenge decided to take on the French Le Défi team.

"When you weigh the teams up against each other, they are very similar. There was only one way of choosing left," admitted Jesper Bank, skipper of Victory Challenge. "And that was on the scoreboard. The French haven't really shown their potential."

"We just hope that now that they are number eight they will keep sailing like they're number eight," he laughed.

Bank says his team still has room to improve and he's counting on finding more speed and realising more of his team's potential in the races to come.

That leaves GBR Challenge to race Team Dennis Conner. The losing teams from this pair of matches will be eliminated from further competition, while the winners face the losers from the top group in the Repechage.

"We have great respect for Stars and Stripes but we have beaten them once already, so we know we can do it," said British skipper Ian Walker. "To eliminate them would be a great achievement but only the best performance from our team will suffice. This has the potential to be a seven match thriller!"

The Quarter-Finals is a 'first to four points', best of seven series.

Quarter Final Draw

Syndcate Vs. Syndicate
1. Alinghi (SUI) Vs. 4. Prada (ITA)
2. Oracle BMW (USA) Vs. 3. OneWorld (USA)
5. Victory Challenge (SWE) Vs. 8. Le Defi Areva (FRA)
6. GBR Challenge (GBR) Vs. 7. Team Dennis Conner (USA)
Louis Vuitton Cup Media/ISAF News Editor
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