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France SailGP Team announces new driver

by SailGP 28 Sep 2021 05:37 PDT
Quentin Delapierre will helm the France SailGP Team F50 at the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cádiz, Andalusia © SailGP

The France SailGP Team will have a new driver for the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cádiz, Andalusia, following the announcement that Quentin Delapierre will be taking the helm of the team's F50. Fresh off the back of the Tokyo Olympic Games, where he placed eighth, the 29 year old from Vannes (Brittany) will take over from Billy Besson for the remainder of SailGP Season 2.

Besson has been integral to the French team since its inception in 2018 and played a key part in the team's development and performance on this global platform, demonstrating his ability to compete at the very top of the world of sailing.

Following a disappointing result at the home event in Saint-Tropez, the change has been made to give the team the best chance of moving up from the bottom of the leaderboard.

Quentin Delapierre: new wind for France SailGP Team

Delapierre is a multi-disciplined sailor with experience across all aspects of the sport, from match racing to keelboat racing, inshore trimarans to 32-meter Ultimes. Since he started out competitively at Cataschool in Larmor-Baden (Morbihan), Delapierre has been in high demand. His experience in offshore racing with Thomas Coville, two victories in the Tour de France à la Voile, his successes in the Nacra class - including a second place in the European Championship and a win in a World Cup - and his selection (in record time) for the French Olympic Team, have all contributed to his meteoric rise in the sport, which has caught the eye of Dubois.

Dubois said: "Quentin is part of this new generation of sailors who are the epitome of the very best in professional sport, constantly driven to search for excellence in all areas. All of these make up the ethos and values of a professional league like SailGP.

"The sporting level of the global championship continues to grow and, following the performance at the last Grand Prix, we need to breathe new life into the France SailGP Team to meet the multiple challenges there are, both on and off the water.

"There are very few athletes in the world who are capable of driving an F50. Billy is part of this elite group and he has been an integral part of the French team since its creation playing a key role in its development. We are very grateful to him for all the work we have accomplished together over the past three years.

"We now have a new chapter starting, with Quentin joining the team. It is a big challenge that the entire team will face head-on, with all the energy required to reach the top level of the sport at SailGP."

A new dynamic and a major challenge

This change in sporting strategy comes in the middle of the second season of the global SailGP championship that features the sport's very best athletes; the team will welcome Delapierre at the next event in Cádiz, Andalusia (October 9-10).

Delapierre is already undergoing an expedited total immersion into the team and has been training in the SailGP simulator with his new teammates. The sailing team - Leigh McMillan, François Morvan, Olivier Herledant, Matthieu Vandame, Timothé Lapauw, Amélie Riou, Hélène Noesmoen plus coach Thierry Douillard - are working together to share their extensive experiences onboard to bring Delapierre up to speed as fast as possible. Everything is being done to support Delapierre to get to grips with the flying F50.

Delapierre said: "When I started sailing the NACRA 17, I knew that it may bring the potential for me to get involved in this kind of project. And now this opportunity with SailGP has come, it really endorses the choice I made to go to the Olympics.

"Having followed SailGP closely, I know the level of sailing is exceptionally high and there are some incredible athletes involved, but I'm up for the challenge but I know it will be one of the toughest of my career so far. I'm ready to learn fast and really appreciate the support so far from my new teammates. There is a lot to learn, especially in the tech onboard - no more pulling on ropes! But I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity. I will give the team my very best and look forward to getting on the racecourse in Cádiz."

The Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalusia-Cádiz takes place on October 9-10. Racing will be shown live on Canal+ in France on Saturday and Sunday at 3.30 p.m. GMT.

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