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Jimmy Spithill steers the Roo to pole position in Dubai

by Australia SailGP Team 9 Dec 2023 12:37 PST
Australia SailGP Team in action on Race Day 1 of the Emirates Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 9th December © Felix Diemer

The Australia SailGP Team emerged as the front-runners on the opening day of the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas. Despite a change in the helming position, replacement driver Jimmy Spithill led the Australian crew to an outstanding performance, securing the top spot on the leaderboard.

Stepping into the role of the driver, Jimmy Spithill demonstrated his world-class sailing expertise, seamlessly slotting into the three-time defending champion side, to help the team deliver a 3-1-3 result across the three fleet races. The team's synergy, adaptability, and Spithill's immediate impact have set a high standard for competition, sending a clear message to their rivals about their intentions for the rest of the event in Dubai.

Australia Flight Controller Jason Waterhouse said: "Jimmy brought a lot of knowledge and composure to the racing today. I think the team rallied really well to the change and we were able to pull through with three really strong results."'

Jimmy Spithill said, "To get the opportunity as an athlete to go into the team that has completely dominated this competition since day one is rare and it's a real privilege to get in there and see how they do it.

"Yesterday I had a bit of a shocker in practice so I spent a lot of time last night going through the footage and getting myself back up to speed. I feel like we took some good steps today and I'm really proud of the results the team delivered, it's a great group and atmosphere."

The team's success was made a little sweeter for Spithill, with the team outperforming his former USA Team who finished the day in last place. Spithill wasn't shy about his desire to beat the USA Team, commenting in the pre-event press conference that he wanted to "go out and absolutely smoke those guys.''

To honor Australia driver and CEO Tom Slingsby, who is on paternity leave, the Aussies surprised him by kitting themselves out for racing with socks featuring Slingsby's face.

Spithill commented in the mixzone, "I told Tom I think we can credit our results to the lucky socks we all wore during racing with his face on it. I mean who wouldn't want to wear a pair of socks with a red head on them."

As the Australia SailGP Team revels in their triumph on the first day in Dubai, they remain focused on the challenges ahead going into the final day of racing which commences at 21:00 AEDT on Sunday.

Commenting on the predicted light wind conditions Spithill said, "It was tricky conditions today but tomorrow will definitely be a minefield with the light winds, so it will all be about trying to get consistent scores to get us a seat in the podium race."

The Australia SailGP team will return to home waters for the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney for a record fifth time in February 2024. Tickets are on sale now for the not to be missed event of the Australian summer at www.SailGP.com/Sydney.

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