TODAY |

Spectacular comeback from Team NZ against Luna Rossa puts America's Cup within their grasp

Team New Zealand have done the impossible, overturning a huge 2km deficit to charge home and take a 5-3 lead in the America’s Cup.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The race seemed done and dusted at one stage for the Kiwis. Source: 1 Sport

If the last race showed the speed of the two boats, this one was the complete opposite, both teams falling off their foils on separate occasions as winds dropped.

It was incredible viewing from start to finish. After an early mistake it seemed like Team New Zealand were dead-and-gone, conceding a lead of over 2km through two legs.

But drama ensued, Luna Rossa collapsing at the third gate and unable to bring themselves back up on the foils, allowing Team New Zealand to amazingly catch up, overtake and charge home to victory.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Luna Rossa cruised away as Team NZ struggled to get back up on the foils. Source: 1 Sport

Team New Zealand had entered the race looking to burst open the series and break the spirits of Luna Rossa.

The heat was on the Italians to hit back after taking a shot in the first race of the afternoon, and they needed to win to realistically stay in contention for the cup.

Team New Zealand took port entry and got the windward start they wanted, before making an early tack to create separation.

The Italians had a slender lead midway through the first leg, but Team New Zealand, like a shark stalking its prey, were on their tail and closing fast.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Hardcore fans arrived at the cup village early this morning.

But Jimmy Spithill and his team were determined to maintain their lead on this occasion, taking a 16-second lead through mark one.

The downwind leg was going to be crucial in determining the race, and Team New Zealand slowly began hunting down Luna Rossa and looked to pass them once again, but their aggressiveness cost them dearly.

In danger of running over the top of the Italians, the Kiwis pulled a huge gybe, a manoeuvre that caused Te Rehutai to touch down and fizzle to a stop.

It was a devastating incident for Team New Zealand, who saw victory slip from their grasp in an instant, and watched Luna Rossa cruise into the horizon and right back into the series.

It seemed as if there was just no way back for the Kiwis in the four legs that still remained, Luna Rossa quickly taking what appeared to be an unassailable lead of over 2km.

But it was not completely over, as the peculiar race continued to throw up interesting events, the Italians touching down and crawling to a stop themselves at the end of the third leg, desperately battling to find a gust of wind to propel them back down the course.

To further complicate matters, the organisers announced the race would be only five legs in order for the race to finish within the time limit of 45 minutes.

Within moments, Luna Rossa’s lead crumbled, Team New Zealand incredibly staying on their foils in extremely light conditions around the third gate.

It was crucial, the Kiwis spectacularly taking the lead after being dead-and-gone just moments earlier.

Luna Rossa remained dead in the water, a despondent Jimmy Spithill forced to do nothing but watch on as Team New Zealand, and potentially the America’s Cup, drifted into the horizon.

While the race against the Italians appeared to be over, the race against the clock was very much on, Team New Zealand desperately needing to cross the finish line before the time limit expired.

But they did, winning an amazingly strange and incredible race, and crucially moving within one day of defending the America's Cup.