Dubai: Tom Slingsby’s Australia SailGP Team delivered a remarkable victory in SailGP to dramatically overtake both France and Great Britain to storm back onto the winner’s podium.
At the close of the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented P&O Marinas, Australia now lead the championship by nine points from New Zealand, with France one point further back, maintaining their position in the crucial top three placings. A good result from Great Britain in Dubai sees them 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 rally 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.”
Defeat from jaws of victory
Sir Ben Ainslie was on track for a first SailGP win in 18 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.”
Hamza Mustafa, Chief Operating Officer of P&O Marinas, a DP World company said:
“What an honour 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 100km/h in front of thousands of spectators.”
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.
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 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