Ben Ainslie's Ineos team out of America's Cup after heavy defeat

Credit: PA

Britain’s hopes of claiming a first America’s Cup have been ended after Sir Ben Ainslie’s Ineos Team UK lost to Luna Rossa in the Challenger Series in Auckland.

Italian boat Luna Rossa won both of Sunday’s races to complete a 7-1 triumph over Ineos and clinch the America’s Cup Challenger Series.

Credit: PA

Italy will now compete in a best-of-13 contest against holders Team New Zealand for the 36th America’s Cup, starting on March 6.

“I’ve got to say well done Luna Rossa and well done Italy,” Ainslie said. “I know it’s a big deal in Italy getting into the America’s Cup final.

“We’re obviously disappointed we didn’t get through and we have to go away, go back to the drawing board and see what we can do.”

Luna Rossa had held a 4-0 lead when the Challenger Series was placed on hold last week after Auckland went into a 72-hour coronavirus lockdown.

When it resumed on Saturday, Luna Rossa won the opening race to establish a 5-0 lead and although Ineos won the day’s second race, the Italians claimed victory in both of Sunday’s races.