Team NZ thrash Luna Rossa to level series

Team New Zealand claimed an emphatic victory against Luna Rossa in race 6. Photo: Getty Images
Team New Zealand claimed an emphatic victory against Luna Rossa in race 6. Photo: Getty Images
Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling has responded to doubts over his performance in the starting gate in emphatic fashion.

In the sixth race of the series, with Team New Zealand trailing 3-2 and working with starboard entry – a position in which they were yet to win a race from – Burling drove to the perfect start to leave Luna Rossa in the rear-view mirror.

Team New Zealand claimed the sixth race of the series by a huge 1:41 margin, comfortably leading the race from start to finish on the back of their best start of the series.

As commentator Stephen McIvor put it, Team New Zealand "dropped a bomb on Luna Rossa".

Speaking after the second race of the day, Team New Zealand flight controller Blair Tuke said it was a good way to finish a tight day.

"We've still got a lot of work to do; it's a tight battle."

It was an important race for Team New Zealand to win after falling behind on the scoreboard despite having port entry at the start of the first race on Saturday.

In the first race, Luna Rossa became the first team to win a race from starboard entry at the start during the 36th America's Cup match, using their ability to go into a slow mode to time their entry to the starting line perfectly and remain in a position to get going straight away while Team New Zealand struggled off their foils momentarily.

With two very clear winners in the starting gate, the remainder of the racing was simply a case of follow the leader for the full six legs.

However, Team New Zealand are likely to take more out of the day. Despite being left in the wake of Luna Rossa in the first race, they were able to maintain the deficit and, at times, eat into it – if only slightly.

In the four previous races, Team New Zealand had looked to be the noticeably faster of the two teams on the downwind legs. But in the first race on Saturday, they were able to gain slightly on the upwind legs despite Luna Rossa being in the position to control and dictate the race.

The teams are tied at 3-3 in the first-to-seven series - with two more races set for Sunday, the first starting at 4.15pm.

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