Ineos Team UK have punched their ticket into the Prada Cup final.
The British syndicate have stayed unbeaten in the round robin, beating Luna Rossa by 33 seconds in their penultimate race of the series.
“That was one for the fans, eh?” Ineos Team UK helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie said after the race.
With American Magic out of the round robin racing, Ineos Team UK only needed one win over their Italian rivals to qualify for the finals, and they took the first opportunity they got.
After an 80-minutes delay caused by a combination of shifty winds, course changes and boat maintenance, the race finally got underway.
The pair both started off well, and that was a sign of things to come. There was very little to separate the two throughout the race, with nine lead changes throughout the closest race of the regatta so far.
Two bad tacks from Luna Rossa opened the door for Ineos Team UK in the opening two legs, however by the third gate the Italians held a 19-second lead.
That was cut to 10 seconds through the fourth gate, and the British outfit had taken the lead back at the penultimate gate.
From there, it was a one-leg drag race, and Sir Ben Ainslie’s crew got the better of it. Luna Rossa protested the final cross of the race, but their protest was turned down and the British crew claimed the win.
They can now opt not to race on Sunday should they wish, as the result now has no bearing on the final round robin standings.
Ineos Team UK will still have to complete “ghost races” to officially get enough points to qualify for the Prada Cup final.
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride.
• Don’t forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America’s Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.
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