The fourth and final Semi Final spot is currently occupied by Desafío Español 2007, who earned a great win in front of a large weekend spectator fleet on Sunday. The Spanish have won six of their seven Round Robin Two matches to build a five point cushion over Victory Challenge. The Swedish team has three matches left, with six points available. If the Swedes lose one more race, or the Spanish team earns another victory, Desafío Español will have the coveted Semi Final berth.
That does not mean the remaining matches for the top teams are meaningless. Just two points separate first from third and the top finisher has the right to choose its opponent for the head to head Semi Final portion of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Flight 9 is scheduled for Monday.
Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team's pre-start manoeuvring has been exemplary in the Louis Vuitton Cup, but on this occasion Shosholoza helmsman Paolo CIAN (ITA) managed to get a penalty against his rivals after getting a 'hook' on the Italian boat.
While the Italians led up the first beat - and indeed from the start to finish - it was always a matter of whether or not they could eke out the sort of lead that would enable them to take the 270-penalty turn before the South Africans caught them.
When Shosholoza fluffed a gybe down the final run, the Italians sped away to a 150-metre lead. It looked like they might just have the gap to complete their penalty manoeuvre. Cameron DUNN (NZL) spun the wheel as ITA 99 danced around the finish mark but it was all too late as RSA 83 came charging by under spinnaker.
The South Africans scraped past the downspeed Italians for a 6-second win. Judging by the celebrations on board, the Shosholoza crew was thrilled at having beaten their mid-table rivals.
Every match from now on is a 'must-win' if Victory Challenge is going to topple Desafío Español from a Semi Final berth. Against Areva today it was an extremely close match up the first beat as the two boats traded tacks all the way to the windward mark. The French rounded right on the transom of SWE 96 but the killer move came when Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) fooled his counterpart Sébastien COL (FRA) with a dummy gybe, sending FRA 93 the other way while the Swedes sailed in clear air. From there the Swedish boat stretched out a small but useful lead to the finish.
The other three matches were straightforward and ran to form, with Desafío Español beating United Internet Team Germany, BMW ORACLE Racing beating +39 Challenge, and Emirates Team New Zealand beating China Team.
Louis Vuitton Cup - Sunday's Matches
1. Desafío Español 2007 beat United Internet Team Germany. 1:08
2. Team Shosholoza beat Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team. 0:06
3. Emirates Team New Zealand beat China Team. 3:02
4. Victory Challenge beat Areva Challenge . 0:35
5. BMW ORACLE Racing beat +39 Challenge. 0:53
Bye - Luna Rossa ChallengeLouis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin Two - Leaderboard
|Position||Team||Points - End of RR1||Matches Sailed RR2||Matches Won RR2||Total Points|
|1||BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 98)||21||7||6||33|
|2||Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 92)||18||7||7||32|
|3||Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 94)||19||7||6||31|
|4||Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 97)||17||7||6||29|
|5||Victory Challenge (SWE 96)||14||7||5||24|
|6||Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia (ITA 99)||14||7||3||20|
|7||Team Shosholoza (RSA 83)||12||8||3||18|
|8||Areva Challenge (FRA 93)||9||7||2||13|
|9||+39 Challenge (ITA 85)||6||7||0||6|
|10||United Internet Team Germany (GER 89)||3||8||1||5|
|11||China Team (CHN 95)||1||8||1||3|
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