BMW Oracle Racing wins to start second stage

Updated: April 29, 2007, 2:38 PM ET
Associated Press

VALENCIA, Spain -- BMW Oracle Racing beat United Internet Team Germany by more than 3 minutes Sunday to open the second stage of Louis Vuitton Cup racing that will select a challenger to defending champion Alinghi in the America's Cup this summer.

The Americans, who won eight of their nine races in the first round of the challengers' series, defeated the Germans by 3 minutes, 17 seconds on the "Romeo" course and now lead the standings with 23 points. Luna Rossa of Italy, which beat last-place China Team by 2:57 on Sunday, is second with 21 points. Emirates Team New Zealand is third with 18 points.

"Some are easy and some are hard, but today was one of the easier ones," BMW Oracle Racing mid-bowman Tony Kolb said. "Every race is a real race and we have to stay serious."

Racing on the southern "Juliet" course was postponed until Monday because erratic wind delayed sailing for much of the afternoon.

The unpredictable weather is expected to continue through next week. BMW Oracle Racing and Luna Rossa, which have been in Valencia since 2004, might have an advantage in adapting to the conditions.

"We've got a good handle on these conditions," BMW Oracle Racing tactician Gavin Brady said. "It'll turn into a real drag race ... it's going to come and it'll change the event dramatically."

The top four finishers after the second round-robin stage will advance to the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals on May 14-24.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press