Racing for the first time with the brand new 29M wings, designed for the light breeze, Ben and the Great Britain SailGP Team had an explosive day on the water at the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez.
The British team made strong start to the day with a third place in race four, after recovering from a penalty at the start, giving them a shot at qualifying for the winner-takes-all ‘podium race’. However, that shot did not come as a collision in the pre-start of race five with the Spain SailGP Team, after the British F50 made a bold move attempting to squeeze through a gap that ultimately was not there, resulted in Ben Ainslie’s team finishing their final race of the day in fourth place and out of the podium places.
The British team finished in 6th place overall, with Nathan Outteridge’s Japan SailGP Team taking the event win. The results of the France Sail Grand Prix leave the Brits in fourth place on the extremely tight overall SailGP Championship leaderboard one point behind Jimmy Spithill’s USA SailGP Team and Tom Slingsby’s Australia SailGP Team and three points behind leaders Japan SailGP Team.
“We had a reasonable first race today which set us up with a good shot of getting into the top three, but we needed to push in the second race. We had a gap and went for it but unfortunately it closed up right at the last moment between Spain and Denmark and we couldn’t quite feed the boat through. We had a collision with Spain and rightly got the penalty for that. That cost us the race and the shot at getting at the top three. Which was a great success. Whilst we are frustrated about that final race there are many positives to take away going into Cadiz with the League getting tighter and tighter at the top. It’s very close on the overall Championship leaderboard which is super exciting.”Ben Ainslie