America’s Cup 2021: Dominant Luna Rossa beat Ineos Team UK to move one win away from Team New Zealand clash

Luna Rossa are one win away from earning the right to challenge Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup match.

The Italian syndicate claimed their sixth win in the best-of-13 Prada Cup finals series against Ineos Team UK this afternoon, beating the Bristish outfit by 1min45sec.

For the first time in the series, the team with the better start did not win the race, with Luna Rossa overcoming an early positional disadvantage to take the lead after the first manoeuvre of the race and never relinquishing it.

While Team UK were the better of the two across the starting line, Luna Rossa were able to hang on their tails, close enough to be able to push the British toward the boundary before making the first manoeuvre, allowing the Italians to cut underneath and give themselves the chance for a pass.

They executed it well, and by the first gate Luna Rossa had a 16-second lead. That was extended to 21 seconds at the third gate, before the Italians left the British in their wake on the third leg – extended the lead beyond the one-minute mark.

With a team sailing as well as Luna Rossa are, the rest of the race was elementary, as the Italians cruised through to a comfortable win.

Luna Rossa co-helmsman Francesco Bruni wasn’t celebrating just yet after the race: “We cannot take anything for granted, and must keep sailing well.”

A frustrated Sir Ben Ainslie admitted Luna Rossa were simply faster.

“They are going about two knots faster – it’s pretty hard to race against that,” he said.

“We’ve been trying everything we can to get on top of it but we can’t. Breeze still pretty light here – balance between trying to make something at the start happen or not.”

“This is just a dominant performance from Luna Rossa,” said former Team New Zealand sailor Mark Orams.

“Wonder what the guys at Team New Zealand are thinking right now … they must be impressed.”

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