Great Britain's Land Rover BAR have been chosen by Team New Zealand as their opponents in the challenger semi-finals at the America's Cup in Bermuda.
The hapless French had no answer to the sheer pace and control of Emirates Team New Zealand, the Kiwi boat achieving the first official "perfect" race foiling right around the track for a 100 per cent fly-time to win by 4:06.
Earlier today Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill claimed both a psychological edge and an all important bonus point heading into the Cup finale after beating Team New Zealand in a tense qualifying race in Bermuda.
"Team Sweden have also beaten Team Japan twice in qualifying rounds and enter that match-up with an upper hand.In an apparent slip of the tongue, Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge didn't seem to give BAR any chance of progressing to the challenger finals".
That is the end of Oracle Team USA's competitive action until Saturday 17th June when they will race the first two rounds of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton.
It figures that the new-look qualifiers would come down to a showdown between the two powerhouse rivals that will forever be linked by the epic 2013 America's Cup. Also Saturday, the British boat beat Team Japan and Artemis Racing beat Groupama Team France, which was eliminated Friday. Should they do so they would gain a bonus point for the America's Cup match against the holders if they go the whole way through the competition.
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The Kiwi boat was able to mow down Oracle's early lead by halfway down the third-leg, but Burling was out-thought by Spithill for a second time just before the fourth mark, when New Zealand tacked underneath the USA boat when crossing would have seen them take the lead.
"We just won a race in the Cup, boys".
In one of the many radical departures from tradition, this is the first time the defender has sailed against challengers in the preliminaries. The Kiwis reached match point at 8-1 and was way ahead in what would have been the deciding race, but it was abandoned after the time limit expired on a fluky day on San Francisco Bay.
Radio Sport has live commentary of all Team New Zealand races. Oracle then mounted one of the greatest comebacks in sports, winning eight straight races to retain the Auld Mug.
A broken rudder during race preparations made for a chaotic start for Oracle.
Artemis sits fourth, with four points, behind Land Rover BAR with five.
"Team NZ have beaten BAR twice already this week, including the walkover on Friday (NZT), when the Kiwis nearly lapped their rivals, who withdrew with two legs remaining".