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 Friday, 17 January, 2003, 05:11 GMT
Alinghi one step from glory
Oracle lead Alinghi in race five
Alinghi were forced to come from behind
Alinghi moved to within one win of reaching the America's Cup as they took a 4-1 lead over Oracle in the Louis Vuitton challengers series final.

The Swiss syndicate won a hard-fought race in the Hauraki Gulf on Friday by 13 seconds.

They now need just one more victory from the remaining four races to set up a clash with America's Cup holders Team New Zealand next month.

Alinghi found an immediate response to their defeat on Thursday with a storming start which left Oracle behind by six seconds.

The leadership on our boat is one of never thinking we're out of it

Alinghi's Josh Belsky

But Oracle showed better speed in light winds and took the lead further down the first leg.

The American team rounded the first mark 28 seconds clear but Alinghi gradually pegged them back and held on for victory in a tight finish.

Alinghi pitman Josh Belsky attributed the victory to the calm leadership of skipper Russell Coutts and tactician Brad Butterworth.

"The leadership on our boat is one of never getting upset, never thinking we're out of it, just talk about how we're going to manage the rest of the race," said Belsky.

"Those guys don't quit and that gives us confidence."

Oracle's New Zealand-born skipper Chris Dickson said: "We have no more lives.

"We will have tomorrow off and then we must win every race. We have been ahead at some stage in the last three races, so we have the ability to get more points."

Racing resumes on Sunday.

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