Scene set for high-speed SailGP showdown in Saint-Tropez

Scene set for high-speed SailGP showdown in Saint-Tropez

Scene set for high-speed SailGP showdown in Saint-Tropez

Sport

By SailGP
09/09/2022 - 20:03
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SailGP's foiling F50 catamarans nudged towards the all time speed record at final practice on Friday in Saint-Tropez as drivers battled challenging conditions and high winds. The globally iconic French Riviera location will this weekend play host to the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix for the second year running.

The firm favorites for this year's event are a red-hot New Zealand SailGP Team, with Peter Burling looking for a third event win in row after dominant triumphs in Plymouth and Copenhagen.

At the official pre-event press conference Burling said: "I'm really proud of how as a team we have been building. Our goal has always been to just keep getting better and keep improving, and I think we are still far from where we can get, which is the really exciting part about it."

The home fans' attention will be firmly focused on France SailGP Team driver Quentin Delapierre, racing on home waters for the first time in SailGP off the back of a second place finish at the last event, the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen.

Delapierre said: "We have just tried to increase our confidence onboard. I think if you have confidence you are stronger at the start of the race, and I think 80 per cent of the game is in this first phase. In Copenhagen we did well in this first phase and it was good for us. We want the win, sure, but in reality we just have to be patient."

Australia still holds the season championship lead but missed the event final in Copenhagen, leaving Tom Slingsby and his team with a point to prove to break the strong run of form of the New Zealand team.

All teams will have more races in which to make their mark, as SailGP launches 'Super Sunday' this weekend, which will see three fleet races take place instead of two on Sunday before the three-boat podium final.

Drivers welcomed the change at the press conference in Saint-Tropez, Canada driver Phil Robertson said: "I think it's great. We've come here to race as we are racers, and if we can squeeze more races into the window then we are super happy. And it does change tactics quite a lot, because typically you come into Sunday in a position where you are either trying to defend or really attack, and now that is all thrown out the window. So I think it will be a different series from here on in."

Switzerland co-driver Nathan Outteridge added: "We should try and push for five races in the future; let's just keep trying to cram them in!"

The passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II this week means the weekend has special and emotional significance for the Great Britain SailGP Team, and driver Sir Ben Ainslie gave a moving tribute to the monarch at the opening of the press conference. Earlier in the day the Great Britain SailGP Team and Commonwealth teams Australia, Canada and New Zealand participated in a ceremony in the event's technical site, observing three minutes of silence and lowering the team flags to half mast.

Ainslie said: "Looking back at all the response to everything that has happened over the last 24 hours, there were some attributes made of the Queen and what she stood for - devotion, service, humility, respect, humor, enjoyment, and perseverance."

"I think that is how many people around the world will remember her. And certainly in this world we are currently living in, that perspective is one of the things the Queen certainly stood for and I am sure the rest of us could certainly gain some from following that.

"In the days and weeks to come we hope the sorrow turns to celebration of an incredible life - perhaps the most incredible life that's ever been lived.

"So our respects to the Royal Family at this moment - our thoughts and with them, and we wish them and everyone around the world the very best moving forward from this sad news."

As part of its ambition to be the most purpose-driven and sustainable global sports platform, SailGP will make a significant step forward with its on-water fleet transition in Saint-Tropez. The event will feature the most sustainable electric fleet SailGP has operated to date, with five chartered electric boats in action across its race week operations as SailGP aims to power its entire on-water fleet by clean energy by 2025.

Saint-Tropez is the fifth of 11 venues that will form the Season 3 calendar. Cádiz-Andalucía in Spain is the next stop for SailGP, before the fleet visits Dubai, Singapore, Sydney, Christchurch and finally finishing in San Francisco, May 2023.

With high winds forecast, fans can expect to witness some high-speed action. Racing starts at 2.30pm local time and is live on Canal + Sport 360 in France. For all the details on how to watch around the globe, visit SailGP.com/watch. For fans in Saint-Tropez, a few final tickets are still available for the weekend but are selling fast, head to SailGP.com for more information.

SAILGP SEASON 3 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after four events) //
1 // Australia // 36 points
2 // New Zealand // 32 points
3 // Denmark // 28 points
4 // Canada // 27 points
5 // Great Britain // 26 points
6 // France // 24 points
7 // United States // 19 points
8 // Switzerland // 11 points
9 // Spain // 11 points

SAILGP SEASON 3 IMPACT LEAGUE STANDINGS //
1 // New Zealand // 647 points
2 // Denmark // 633 points
3 // Great Britain // 627 points
4 // Canada // 618 points
5 // Australia // 617 points
6 // Spain // 609 points
7 // France// 598 points
8 // United States // 584 points
9 // Switzerland // 563 points

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