Fri, Apr 27, 2007 - Page 22 News List

US, New Zealand teams remain unbeaten


Desafio Espanol crew members in action during the first round-robin stage of the Louis Vuitton Cup off the coast of Valencia, Spain, on Wednesday.


Undefeated BMW Oracle Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand showed why they're the two favorites to win the Louis Vuitton Cup after impressive wins on Wednesday.

The Americans, who had a sixth-flight bye, eased to victory over French syndicate Areva Challenge by 2 minutes, 54 seconds in the seventh flight of challengers series racing on the northern "Romeo" course.

"We just played by the book and did not do anything fancy," BMW Oracle Racing strategist Peter Isler said. "We could see lead changes going on in the other match, so we realized anything could happen. It was a tricky race course out there."

BMW Oracle Racing has won all six races to lead the standings with 12 points, two more than the Kiwis and Italian boats Mascalzone Latino and Luna Rossa.

The top-seeded Emirates Team New Zealand followed up its win over spoilers Shosholoza of South Africa with an easy victory over United Internet Team Germany on the southern "Juliet" course.

The Kiwis haven't lost since an opening-flight defeat to Mascalzone Latino.

The Neapolitans showed their victory over Emirates Team New Zealand was no fluke by beating the Germans and fellow newcomers China Team to stay equal second.

The winless Chinese dropped the opener to Desafio Espanol of Spain by 2:01, before withdrawing from the seventh flight.

Luna Rossa rebounded from two straight losses with consecutive wins on "Romeo,'' beating the French and then winless +39 Challenge of Italy.

Victory Challenge of Sweden, which had a seventh-flight bye, had earlier beaten +39 Challenge by 0:55.

The South Africans, who upset Luna Rossa on Tuesday, failed to recover from the opening defeat to the Kiwis. Desafio Espanol crossed the finish line 0:57 ahead of Shosholoza.

The Louis Vuitton Cup will decide which of the 11 challengers will sail against America's Cup champion Alinghi in the final from June 23-July 4.

Wednesday was the first time the challengers series had raced on consecutive days.

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