What are Ineos Team UK/Ainslie’s chances?
From being severely off the pace pre-Christmas, to turning it around in style – so much so that there were claims of ‘sandbagging’ – to also chipping in to help when rivals American Magic dramatically capsized: it’s certainly been eventful so far for Ineos Team UK and Sir Ben Ainslie.
Topping the round robin to qualify directly for the Prada Cup final was a big boost for the British team but Ainslie will be the first to admit work is still needed if they want to eventually be lining up against defenders New Zealand in the America’s Cup match.
Remember, four years ago the team didn’t even make it as far as that stage as they lost to eventual winners New Zealand.
What are they saying?
Jimmy Spithill said it was “payback time for those British guys” after his Luna Rossa team completed a comprehensive 4-0 victory over American Magic to advance to the final against Sir Ben Ainslie’s Ineos Team UK.
Ainslie’s team beat Luna Rossa three times in succession in the round robins, the third time a nailbiting race which came down to the final cross on the final downwind leg.
“It’s payback time,” said Spithill, who was helmsman for Oracle Team USA when Ainslie joined the US boat as tactician in 2013, helping them to win the 2013 America’s Cup. “We owe those British guys from the round robins. They’ve got some good guys, guys I’ve worked with and know really well, but that’s what you want. As a competitor; you want to go against the best. If it’s anything like that last race against them, bring it on.”
Winning the round-robin phase of the Prada Cup was crucial for Ineos Team UK, and they’ve been working hard since, according to Ainslie.
“It’s obvious to everyone that the lighter airs have been our area of potential weakness. We certainly hope and expect that we’ve closed the gap.“But we’ve made changes across the boat, not just under the water but above the water as well. We’re looking forward to it.”
What are the latest odds?
- Ineos Team UK 3/5
- Luna Rossa Challenge 7/5