America's Cup- French become fourth Challenger

TFS-Pages Jaunes skipper Bertrand pace focuses on the job at hand - Louis Vuitton Trophy

Despite suggestions from event organizers that the 'outting' of the fifth team to enter the 34th America's Cup could be weeks away, a French team have issued a media release within 12 hours claiming the entry.

'ALEPH, the challenge headed by Bertrand Pacé and Alain Gautier, has just taken a major step forward,' says the statement issued by the team. '

Le Bouveret - 21/07/2009 Alinghi Sailing Second day of sailing for Alinghi 5 on Lake Geneva. Ernesto Bertarelli, Alain Gautier. Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi
'The French campaign’s entry has been confirmed by the Golden Gate Yacht Club. ALEPH is officially a challenger for the 34th America’s Cup. With the backing of the French Sailing Federation, the French challenger has taken on the official mantle of 'French Team for the 34th America’s Cup', and has been re-named 'ALEPH-ÉQUIPE DE FRANCE'.'

The initial release, posted on the website continued the practice previously stated by the Defenders that they a would only announce the fact that an entry had been received, and leave the actual announcement to the team itself, in its own timing.

The team, which has not announced a major backer, has previously announced their intention to challenge, and the announcement today is a significant milestone for the team which has competed in Louis Vuitton Trophy events.

The two principals, Bertrand Pace and Alain Gautier bring a wealth of experience to the Challenge, with Pace having helmed or had a substantial involvement in several America's Cup campaigns, including one Team New Zealand, and is a top match racer.

His partner, Alain Gautier is a top French multihull sailor and has America's Cup experience with Alinghi.

The team previously announced their intentions to challenge, saying that they would be seeking funding and sponsorship to resource a campaign. The entry announced today, together with the backing of the French Sailing Federation (FFV) is a significant step along that path.

A second French/German team, All4One, headed by Stephane Kandler and skippered by Jochen Schuemann, is believed to be at a 'due diligence' stage of considering a challenge. However the multi-national character of the team has precluded it from taking the mantle of 'French Team for the 34th America’s Cup' which has been bestowed on Aleph Equipe de France, and brings a much needed injection of nationalism into the circuit.