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Australia delivers a dominant race win to bolster its bid for Season 4 SailGP Grand Final

by SailGP 23 Jun 20:31 PDT 22-23 June 2024
Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix © SailGP

Tom Slingsby insists Australia has been given the confidence boost it needs after securing a pivotal race win at the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix that strengthens the team's path to the Season 4 Grand Final in San Francisco in July.

As SailGP returned to the iconic Hudson River in front of thousands of fans, the Australians faced another set of challenges on Race Day Two in New York, being penalised in the first fleet race for crossing the start line early alongside the Americans.

Technical issues continued to plague Slingsby and the Flying Roo, making it difficult for the team to see the boundary markers on an already tricky racecourse, resulting in a ninth-place finish in fleet race four.

The Australians managed to manoeuvre themselves from the back of the pack to secure an impressive first place finish in the final fleet race, narrowly missing out on the Final by four points to Canada, New Zealand, and Emirates Great Britain.

Despite the setbacks, Australia's qualification for July's three-team winner-takes-all Grand Final looks promising for Slingsby and his crew to compete in San Francisco for a fourth successive SailGP Championship.

When asked about his crew's performance, Australia Team driver Tom Slingsby said: "I'm glad we were able to turn it around for race two today after a really tough first race. While we managed to get back into the points, unfortunately, it wasn't quite enough to make the final but it was a good comeback by the team.

"Somehow the points worked out pretty well for us, considering everything that was happening heading into the last fleet race and our tech issues. I think we were almost going to be knocked out of the top three and back in eighth place, but then to win the last fleet race, jump four places, and then a couple of our close rivals didn't have a good race; it all worked out for us and we got a bit lucky out of this event."

The New York event saw Peter Burling's New Zealand Black Foils claim victory, continuing its stellar streak with a fifth event win for the season. The refreshed Season 4 leaderboard sees Australia reclaim its second place position behind frontrunners and rivals New Zealand, sitting ahead of Spain by just two points.

"Obviously it would've been nice to make another three-boat Final this weekend ahead of the Grand Final. New Zealand has made quite a lot this year and we haven't so they are naturally going to be a bit sharper in that regard but we've been successful in the Final race, so we need to draw on that experience and hope it's enough."

Looking ahead to the Grand Final next month, Slingsby remains optimistic about his team's prospects based on their past successes, acknowledging the importance of building momentum and confidence for their ultimate test.

"We've been trying to gain momentum heading into the Grand Final and we haven't really got that, but we've got to remember we have a pretty good track record in San Francisco and the team has got a lot of confidence to win there. We're entering the Grand Final with our sights set on victory," Slingsby said.

Following 12 events of intense, stadium-style racing at the most iconic venues in the world, next up the 10-strong F50 fleet returns to San Francisco on 13-14 July to decide the ultimate winner of Season 4 and battle it out for a US$2 million prize pot.

Five fleet races will take place across the two-day spectacle, propelling the top three teams into the championship-deciding winner-takes-all Grand Final showdown.

As three-time defending SailGP Champions, Australia is on track to compete against Spain and New Zealand to retain the Championship trophy and regain its dominance over the league.

The pressure has never been higher in SailGP and that makes the SailGP Season 4 Championship on San Francisco Bay, the perfect event to end the most thrilling season yet.

To purchase tickets, head to www.sailgp.com/races/season-4/grand-final-san-francisco/tickets.

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