BMW Comeback Ties Series With Luna Rossa

News brief, 5/15/07

NBAC2
Gilles Martin-raget/ Bmw Oracle Racing

On Tuesday, BMW ORACLE Racing executed a comeback victory over Luna Rossa Challenge after trailing by as much as 58 seconds at the first windward mark. The American team was 14 seconds behind at the beginning of the final run, but made a great pass down the left hand side of the race course, streaking past what appeared to be a slower Italian boat. In the other pairing, Emirates Team New Zealand won the start off Desafio Español 2007 and extended away on the first upwind leg. The Spanish slowly gained the rest of the way, but never really threatened the comfortable Kiwi lead. Match 1 - Emirates Team New Zealand beat Desafio Español 2007 - DELTA 0:40Emirates Team New Zealand enjoyed a pleasantly uncomplicated match against Desafio Español, with Dean Barker winning the start and taking a few early windshifts to steer NZL 92 to an early lead. By the first mark, the Kiwis were already leading by 1 minute 15 seconds. That would be the biggest delta of the match as the Spanish were fast downwind, making ground on both offwind legs to reduce the gap to 40 seconds by the finish. But never for a moment did the New Zealanders look seriously threatened, and now they are 2-0 up in the series. Match 2 - BMW ORACLE Racing beat Luna Rossa Challenge - DELTA 0:13James Spithill took the fight to Chris Dickson in the pre-start and made it pay, taking Luna Rossa to an early lead off the starting line. Unlike yesterday's match between these two, which was notable for big splits up the windward legs, Luna Rossa's tactician Torben Grael kept a tighter game in the steadier, moderate onshore breezes for today's racing. At the first mark the Italian lead was a surprisingly large 58 seconds, but Dickson switched on the pace downwind, with USA 98 storming up behind ITA 94. By the leeward mark the gap was down to 20 seconds, with the Italians rounding the gate and heading off to the right and the Americans taking the left. Up the next windward leg the match was very tight early, with Spithill only just hanging on to the lead. But then both teams were happy to diverge on opposite tacks, until at one point they were more than 1500 metres apart across the course. However when they came back together at the top of the course, there was nothing to choose between these two, and Dickson was so close that he was able to initiate a luffing match close to the top mark. Spithill and his crew kept their nerve to tack around the mark first, just 14 seconds ahead of Dickson, but the American hoist was much smoother and USA 98 was poised to pounce. Grael decided to defend the right-hand side of the course, but it was the last weapon in his armoury as USA 98 again showed superior downwind speed to sail around and through the Italians' cover to sneak across the finish line ahead, completing a stunning and crucial turnaround for BMW ORACLE Racing.