Ainslie's Land Rover team leads day one in Japan
America's Cup holder Oracle Team USA second in Fukuoka
Ben Ainslie remains on course to become the first Brit in history to skipper an America’s Cup team to victory.
The four-time Olympic champion leads the way with his Land Rover BAR team, after winning the first of three races on the opening day at the America’s Cup World Series in Japan.
Ainslie’s crew has 27 points in the Fukuoka regatta, one ahead of defending champion Oracle Team USA, with Emirates Team New Zealand a further three points back.
“I think we’re on target in terms of our goals for this campaign,” Ainslie told reporters after a successful day’s racing.
“We did set up a very, very ambitious target to try and win the America’s Cup. I still believe we can win this cup.”
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Land Rover BAR went into the final World Series event with a 14-point lead over Oracle Team (now 15 after day one in Japan) and the winner in Fukuoka will take two bonus points into the Bermuda qualifying series in May and June next year.
The winner there will face holder Oracle Team USA for the 2017 America’s Cup.
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Ainslie knows what winning the oldest trophy in international sport feels like.
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The 39-year-old helped Team USA to an epic victory in 2013, overturning an 8-1 deficit against New Zealand to win 9-8.