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Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW LEADERBOARD

New frontiers for SailGP as championship makes Middle Eastern debut

by SailGP 11 Nov 2022 07:46 PST 12-13 November 2022
View of the fleet as they sail past the Burj Khalifa and Dubai skyline during a practice session ahead of the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates © Ricardo Pinto for SailGP

Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas on November 12 and 13 promises closest racing to shore ever

The SailGP title race has never been more wide open, with three different winners in the last three events, as the sport's best athletes prepare for the inaugural Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas. On the spectacularly coloured waters of the Mina Rashid precinct in front of the globally recognized Dubai skyline, all nine F50s made their final preparations for the weekend's racing at the official practice day.

Earlier at the pre-race press conference, with official partners from P&O Marinas as well as the Dubai Sports Council and Dubai's Department of Economy and Tourism in attendance, drivers were predicting a thrilling weekend of racing on the tightest race course so far this season.

Switzerland co-driver Sébastien Schneiter said: "This racecourse is very good, we're sailing right next to the wall, the fans could almost high five us when we're tacking on the boundary so I think this event will go down in SailGP history as one of the best events for the fans. The flat water is really great for the F50, it means we can push the F50 really hard."

Great Britain driver Sir Ben Ainslie agreed: "It's going to be really tight and incredibly exciting for both the competitors and the spectators, it will come down to the tight boat-on-boat maneuvers and on such a tight racecourse, trying to get separation from the other boats because the moment you're alongside too many other boats you're all slowing each other down. The ones that find the space will probably be the ones that do quite well."

After seven events this season Australia holds the lead in the championship by four points over New Zealand, with France currently occupying the final spot in the coveted 'Top 3' that will make the Grand Final in San Francisco. The race for those final positions continues to tighten after the varied event results over the European summer, with just seven points separating France from the seventh placed United States.

Winner of the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix and U.S. driver Jimmy Spithill said: "Without a doubt, you can truly say now any team can win a race weekend, so it is really trying to avoid the carnage out there and on a race track like this anything can happen. It's about being consistent and we have to get out there and post some reasonable scores, all the guys are thinking that."

Fresh from a victory at the last event, the Spain Sail Grand Prix presented by NEAR, Quentin Delapierre, driver of the France team, said his athletes were feeling like genuine title contenders.

Delapierre said: "I'm not really focused on this Grand Prix or the next one, I am focusing on San Francisco, I want to be in the top three, if you focus on winning every Grand Prix you will lose your mind. I think the French team has to focus on San Francisco only now, and keeping our place in the top three."

Australia has held the championship lead from the first event of the season but driver Tom Slingsby admitted his team has never been under more pressure.

Slingsby said: "It's very much getting more open, for me one thing I always look at is which teams have won events and obviously now New Zealand have shown they can win events, they can step up to the plate and now we have new event winners with France and the United States so to me I think the biggest threat is someone that performs in a final and can win that last race, and that pool is really opening up a bit."

Racing starts at 3.00pm local time and is live on Dubai Sports 3 in Dubai. For all the details on how to watch around the globe, visit https://SailGP.com/watch. For fans in Dubai, the platinum ticketing section is already sold out but a few final tickets are still available for the weekend in our event village, head to https://SailGP.com for more information.

SAILGP SEASON 3 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS // (after six events)

1 // Australia // 50 points
2 // New Zealand // 46 points
3 // France // 41 points
4 // Great Britain // 40 points
5 // Canada // 36 points
6 // Denmark // 36 points
7 // United States // 34 points
8 // Spain // 19 points
9 // Switzerland // 14 points

*United States penalized 4 season points for incident with France
*Switzerland penalized 2 season points for incident with United States

SAILGP SEASON 3 IMPACT LEAGUE STANDINGS //

1 // New Zealand // 926 points
2 // Denmark // 925 points
3 // Canada // 913 points
4 // Great Britain // 908 points
5 // France // 890 points
6 // Spain // 877 points
7 // Australia // 870 points
8 // United States // 868 points
9 // Switzerland // 832 points

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