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After 34 races in eight different events across six different countries, there’s just one final round and six more races to go in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) from Friday 18th through Sunday 20th November. Land Rover BAR are heading to Fukuoka in Japan, with plenty at stake.

Before the finale got underway, the team were honoured to experience Japanese sporting culture with a visit to the local Sumo Stables, arranged by the team’s Technical Innovation partner, Land Rover.

Sumo is the most traditional sport in Japan, and is one of the oldest sports in the world, dating back to AD 794.

The overall winner of the ACWS will take two points into the next stage of the 35th America’s Cup, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers. It’s the equivalent of two wins — a 20% bonus on the remaining available points in the double round-robin, beginning in Bermuda on 26th May 2016.

Land Rover BAR hold a 14-point lead in the overall ACWS after a remarkable performance that began with a hometown win in Portsmouth back in July 2015. A third place followed in Gothenburg, and a fourth place in Bermuda, before another win in Oman at the start of the 2016 season. Since then, the team have racked up second in Chicago, another win in Portsmouth, and a third place in Toulon.

Land Rover BAR Sumo Wrestling Japan

Sir Ben Ainslie, Skipper and Team Principal, commented ahead of the start of racing: “It looks like a good race course with predominantly lighter winds. It’s great for the America’s Cup to be going to Asia, and for Japan to be hosting the final event in the Series.

“We have got a reasonable points gap, but we’re very much taking it like any other event. That approach has worked for us so far, and I think we need to keep that going.

“We’ll have the same preparation and the same focus and not consider the overall points until we get to the final couple of races on the Sunday. If we’re going to win, we’re going to have to sail well in Japan so we’ll just focus on doing that.”

Land Rover BAR Sumo Wrestling Japan

Land Rover BAR took the opportunity of the first America’s Cup racing to ever take place in Asia to announce their official timing partner: Swiss watchmaker Zenith.

Founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot, Zenith earned fame thanks to the El Primero — still a legend in the world of watchmaking cognoscenti.

Japanese teams contested three successive Cups from 1992 to 2000, but the nation has never seen racing on its shores before. The venue is Fukuoka, the most populous city on Kyushu Island, situated on the northern shore and famous for the ancient 17th-century Fukuoka Castle, Fukuoka Art Museum, its beaches, shopping, and egg noodles!

All of the racing action can be watched in the UK and Ireland live on BT Sport, with Saturday and Sunday’s racing coverage beginning at 4:00am. Both channels will run replays of the racing throughout the weekend.

Watch a video of Land Rover BAR visiting the Sumo Stables below:

Photography in this article by Lloyd Images.

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