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BMW ORACLE Racing takes the prize in Valencia

BMW ORACLE Racing takes the prize in Valencia

Valencia, 16 May, 2006 - The American BMW ORACLE Racing team has won the Louis Vuitton Act 10 in Valencia. The Americans beat Luna Rossa Challenge in Flight 11 to move into a four-way tie with the other leading teams. Although they have sailed one less match than the other teams, BMW ORACLE Racing pops out the top on the tie-breaking procedure to confirm the winning spot.

It's the first Louis Vuitton Act victory for BMW ORACLE Racing since the opening Act in Marseille in 2004, when there were just six teams competing.

The American team will likely still sail its last match, scheduled for Wednesday, against +39 Challenge, to improve its position on the challenger rankings, although it won't affect the overall results for Act 10. If the Americans win on Wednesday they finish clear ahead on points in both the Act and for the Louis Vuitton Challenger Rankings.

Equal tonight on nine points with BMW ORACLE Racing is Luna Rossa Challenge, Emirates Team New Zealand and Alinghi. Under the tie-breaking rules, the championship is decided on the best performance in head to head matches between the tied teams. BMW ORACLE Racing and Luna Rossa both have 2 -1 records, and as the Americans beat Luna Rossa, they end up on top, with the Italians in second place. Emirates Team New Zealand ends up third by virtue of defeating Alinghi in their match.

Further down the table, the home Spanish team, Desafío Español 2007 won its last match over Victory Challenge to draw level with the Swedes on points, and win that tie-break for fifth place.

There were perfect racing conditions on Tuesday in Valencia, with a solid 10-12 knot Easterly blowing down the race course under sunny skies. Over 100 spectator boats ringed the race courses to catch all the action.

The match between Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand was a humdinger. There was nothing between these two boats for the first leg and a half. As they duelled downwind, the Kiwis tried to roll over the top of the Italians who themselves had just made a passing move, but James Spithill engaged Dean Barker in a slow luff. As both boats rounded closer to the wind, the lightly-built spinnakers loaded up, until the red kite of NZL 84 exploded. As the shreds of sailcloth laid blew over Luna Rossa's rig, the Umpires added insult to injury by giving the Kiwis a penalty. Luna Rossa took a narrow lead through the leeward gate, and led their wounded rivals all the way to the finish.

There was action in the match between Desafío Español and BMW ORACLE, the Spanish gaining a small advantage in the early stages and looking the equal of the Americans in their new boat. This remained a tight match all the way round the course, with the two boats rounding the final mark in unison. However, USA 87 turned on the afterburners down the final run, and finished 25 seconds in front.

By comparison to the other big teams, Alinghi enjoyed a straightforward victory over Victory Challenge. But two of the three matches on the south course were closely fought all the way around the track, the first being that between Shosholoza and Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team. Straight off the start line Mascalzone Latino gained a small advantage up the first beat to round the windward mark in the lead, but at the leeward gate the Italians gave their lead away by picking the unfavoured left hand side of the gate.

Team Shosholoza hung onto to their lead up the second beat only to allow the Italians to get caught up when the South Africans made a poor gybe. Minutes later Mascalzone Latino managed to roll the South Africans and hold their lead to finish just 15 seconds ahead.

In the match between +39 and United Internet Team Germany, +39 took a narrow lead from the start and rounded the weather mark two boat lengths ahead. However, a poor spinnaker hoist allowed the German team to overtake the Italians. At the bottom mark the left hand side proved to be a graveyard once again, this time for United Internet Team Germany who handed back the lead to +39. This time it was a lead the Italians held to the finish.

Areva Challenge led China Team off the line and never looked back to beat the Chinese by a large margin.

Going into the final flight, the overall standings were very close and the only team still fully in control of its own destiny was Luna Rossa. If the Italians could win this final match against BMW ORACLE Racing then they would win Louis Vuitton Act 10. James Spithill controlled the start beautifully, forcing an early tack from Chris Dickson. Just two minutes into the match, the yachts converged and Luna Rossa passed clear ahead - advantage Italy.

However, close to the first mark, Dickson pulled a masterstroke when he ducked the Italians to claim a late right-hand advantage. He threw the fast-turning USA 87 into an immediate tack, now sitting on the windward hip of the Italians. Spithill believed he had the speed and momentum to tack across the face of the Americans but it was an expensive misjudgement. Dickson was forced to take evading action and the Umpires duly awarded a penalty against Spithill. USA 87 speared into the lead and Dickson defended the lead to the finish.

It was a very even start between Alinghi and Emirates Team New Zealand, although the Swiss seized the early advantage. However the Kiwi afterguard found good breeze out to the left of the course and when the boats came together again, NZL 84 was two boatlengths ahead. This was always a tight match but the New Zealanders never faltered and they won a rare victory against their nemesis from the 2003 Cup.

Karol Jablonski sailed a masterful pre-start against Magnus Holmberg, Desafío Español leaving Victory Challenge floundering as the gun fired, and a penalty against the Swedish too. Victory never recovered and the Spanish sailed to a relatively easy win.

The match between Areva Challenge and +39 proved to be the closest of Flight 11 on the south course. On the approach to the start both boats looked early. +39 just managed to slow down to start cleanly, but Areva didn't and were over the line at the start. Travelling at pace and heading to the favoured right hand side of the course, the Italian team pulled out a lead that they never gave back.

In the match between United Internet Team Germany and Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team, the Germans might have outperformed the Italians in the pre-start but they suffered a penalty. But there was worse to come. A poor hoist at the weather mark allowed the Italians to take the lead. At the leeward mark United Internet Team Germany compounded their problems with a poor spinnaker drop allowing the Italians to stretch out even more distance, resulting in a comfortable win.

After making a good start Team Shosholoza powered away from China Team and never looked like relinquishing their lead. They didn't and South Africa won the race.

Provisional Results and Points Leaderboard

Flight 10
1 BMW ORACLE Racing beat Desafío Español 2007 DELTA 00.25
2 Alinghi beat Victory Challenge DELTA 02.33
3 Luna Rossa beat Emirates Team New Zealand DELTA 01.08
4 Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team beat Team Shosholoza DELTA 00.15
5 Areva Challenge beat China Team DELTA 01.48
6 +39 Challenge beat United Internet Team Germany DELTA 00.38

Flight 11
1 Desafío Español 2007 beat Victory Challenge (Did Not Finish) DELTA DNF
2 BMW ORACLE Racing beat Luna Rossa DELTA 01.38
3 Emirates Team New Zealand beat Alinghi DELTA 00.16
4 Team Shosholoza beat China Team DELTA 01.27
5 Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia beat United Internet Team Germany DELTA 02.28
6 +39 Challenge beat Areva Challenge DELTA 00.31

Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 10 - Leaderboard
Position Matches sailed Won Points
1 BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 87) *10 9 9
2 Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 86) 11 9 9
3 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 84) 11 9 9
4 Alinghi (SUI 75) 11 9 9
5 Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 65) 11 6 6
6 Victory Challenge (SWE 63) 11 6 6
7 Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team (ITA 77) 11 5 5
8 Team Shosholoza (RSA 83) 11 4 4
9 +39 Challenge (ITA 59) *10 3 3
10 Areva Challenge (FRA 60) 11 3 3
11 United Internet Team Germany (GER 72) 11 2 2
12 China Team (CHN 79) 11 0 0

BMW ORACLE Racing and +39 Challenge are scheduled to race on Wedensday.

Note to editors:

Since 1851, the America's Cup has transcended the sport of sailing to become a symbol of the pursuit of excellence.

The official partners LOUIS VUITTON, ENDESA, SANTANDER, ALCATEL and the America's Cup share a heritage rich in passion, innovation and extraordinary human achievement.

The 32nd America's Cup enjoys the support of Nespresso, Adecco, Ford, El Corte Inglés, Estrella Damm, Grupo Leche Pascual and Coca-Cola; our Supporters, and valuable contributors to the America's Cup.

Racing for the 32nd America's Cup - Valencia began with a series of Louis Vuitton Acts in 2004 and 2005. The competition continues in 2006, with three more Louis Vuitton Acts in Valencia, the Host City of the 32nd America's Cup.

Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 10 - Match Racing - 11 to 18 May 2006
Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 11 - Fleet Racing - 19 to 21 May 2006
Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 12 - Match Racing - 22 June to 2 July 2006

In 2007, a fleet race event - Louis Vuitton Act 13 - will precede the Louis Vuitton Cup, the winner of which will then race the Defender, Team Alinghi, in the America's Cup Match in Valencia


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