Dubai – 11/13/2022 – Tom Slingsby’s Australia SailGP Team delivered one of the more remarkable victories seen in SailGP to dramatically overtake both France and Great Britain from what had seemed respective winning positions to storm back onto the winner’s podium.
At the close of the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented P&O Marinas, Australia now leads the championship by nine points from New Zealand, with France one point further back, maintaining its position in the crucial top three placings. A good result from Great Britain in Dubai sees it just two points out of the Grand Final currently with four events left in the season, as the top four teams have started to pull away from the rest of the field.
But on the packed shorelines of Mina Rashid in front of sold-out crowds, the talk was all about Australia’s come-from-behind win.
Slingsby said: “I have no idea how we did that to be honest, I would want to replicate that every race if we could because whatever we did there was pretty incredible. That final was a blur, someone will have to explain to me sometime what happened but it was just unreal.”
Sir Ben Ainslie was on track for a first SailGP win in eighteen months as he led right up to the final gate before an error saw Australia and France sweep past them in the final seconds.
Ainslie said: “I think that is one of the best examples of grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory that I have seen for a very long time, it’s hugely frustrating for the team, we had such a good weekend, and just missed the final move, but that’s SailGP, that’s sport, it happens.”
Earlier in the final podium race, France had looked to have wrapped up the win as it enjoyed a huge lead, but a tactical error of its own saw Australia and Britain reel them in.
France driver Quentin Delapierre said: “It was a difficult race, it was frustrating, I feel like it was another example of how I’m still learning, but this is a great result for us as a team, our dynamic is amazing, and we are contenders now, we need to keep focusing on San Francisco.”
Elsewhere the final podium race delivered a first-ever win for Spanish driver Jordi Xammar, while it was a frustrating result for Denmark, as Nicolai Sehested’s team saw its event final chances dashed on the start line of that same race by a technical issue affecting the onboard screens that relay critical information, forcing them to retire. Race control awarded Denmark a fifth-placed finish in the event as compensation. New Zealand saw its chances of the final also dashed by a four-point penalty for contact with Switzerland in race five. That also resulted in a two-point championship penalty for Peter Burling’s team.
After an event weekend that saw all platinum tickets and technical tours sold out across both days, Ainslie said the atmosphere at the event site and quality of racing was the best he’d experienced so far in the championship.
Ainslie said: “I thought it was an amazing day of racing, it was box office and great fun, today was the best day of racing we have ever had in SailGP, this racecourse, it was fantastic.
Hamza Mustafa, Chief Operating Officer of P&O Marinas, a DP World company said:
“What an honor it has been for all of us at P&O Marinas to host SailGP at Mina Rashid. This is the first time the Middle East has seen such a unique event with high-tech, high-speed action featuring sailing’s best athletes racing in identical hydrofoiling F50 catamarans, flying at speeds approaching 100 km/h in front of thousands of spectators. The event showcased the very best of Dubai – an iconic setting, amazing food, and entertainment for families and the thrill of the race. The government and private sector have worked together seamlessly to bring SailGP to the UAE and we hope it becomes a new feature of Dubai’s winter calendar.”
SailGP’s global championship continues to conquer new frontiers with the first-ever Singapore Sail Grand Prix the next event on January 14 and 15, 2023. For tickets, head to SailGP.com/Singapore for tickets and to rewatch the action from Dubai visit to SailGP.com/Watch.
DUBAI SAIL GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY P&O MARINAS FINAL STANDINGS
1 // Australia // 10 points
2 // France // 9 points
3 // Great Britain // 8 points
4 // New Zealand // 5 points*
5 // Denmark // 6 points **
6 // United States // 5 points
7 // Canada // 4 points
8 // Spain // 3 points
9 // Switzerland // 2 points
*New Zealand docked two points in event ranking for a penalty in fleet race 5 against Switzerland, resulting in 2 championship points
** Denmark awarded 6 points in event rankings due to technical issues forcing retirement in fleet race 6
SAILGP SEASON 3 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after seven events)
1 // Australia // 60 points
2 // New Zealand // 51 points
3 // France // 50 points
4 // Great Britain // 48 points
5 // Denmark // 42 points
6 // Canada // 40 points
7 // United States // 39 points
8 // Spain // 22 points
9 // Switzerland // 16 points
Cover photo: 11/13/2022 – Tom Slingsby, CEO and driver of Australia SailGP Team, celebrates as he holds the trophy on board their F50 after their dramatic win in the final match race on Race Day 2 of the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 13th November 2022. Photo by: Bob Martin