Sun, Jul 02, 2006 - Page 22 News List

`Alinghi' leaves `Luna Rossa' in its wake

AP , VALENCIA, SPAIN

Alinghi won both legs of its races against Luna Rossa of Italy on Friday on the first day of the semi-finals in Act 12 of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Other winners of both legs were Areva Challenge of France and the Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team of Italy as well as +39 Challenge of Italy.

"It's a big day because we don't get many opportunities from now on to race any of the challengers so you could probably say this is a big day to gauge our performance and see where we are at," Alinghi mainsail trimmer Warwick Fleury said.

The defending Cup champions went into the lead as the race got under way, but the Italians were just 15 seconds behind by the first mark, a lead that the defender was able to hang onto until the finish line, winning the second leg by a more convincing 29 seconds.

Shosholoza of South Africa started well against Desafio Espanol of Spain, finishing just four seconds ahead in the first leg. The Spanish boat took the second leg by 35 seconds.

Act 12, a series of races over 11 days finishing today, will be the last time Alinghi match-races challengers until the America's Cup next year in this eastern Spanish port.

The 32nd edition of the America's Cup, featuring 12 teams, begins on June 23 next year.

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