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France finishes first

The France SailGP team had its first event win in the championship after battling it out in the Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz.


Photography by SailGP

29 September 2022

In the closest-ever finish to a SailGP event, Quentin Delapierre led the France SailGP Team to a stunning victory by just three seconds over Jimmy Spithill’s US team to claim France’s first event win in SailGP.

The event win in Andalucía – Cádiz sees the French team rocket into the all-important top three of the championship standings after six events of Season 3.

The resurgence of Spithill’s team continued, as it made a second straight final and couldn’t have been closer to a second straight event win.

Tom Slingsby’s team struggled in the final to finish a distant third, but it was an improved weekend for the Australians, who missed the last two event finals. The team also stretched its lead over New Zealand in the season standings to four points.

On an eye-catching but heartbreaking day for the Canadian team, Phil Robertson won both of the day’s races, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a poor effort on day one and the newcomers missed the final by one point.

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But it was Delapierre who thrilled the crowds with a masterful final performance, as light winds saw just four athletes on board the F50, with the driver joined by Kevin Peponnet, Matthieu Vandame and Manon Audinet.

“This feels really, really good,” said Delapierre. “It’s a very special day for the French team. We have come back from so far in the field to the top – last season, we were last in Cádiz.

“The team has pushed really hard since the beginning of this season to keep the learning curve increasing, so we’re really happy.”

Strategist – and grinder for the final race – Audinet said: “It’s just so awesome, what a crazy feeling to win this event all together, I’m just so happy.

“I think Quentin likes a challenge and the last race was definitely a challenge and he was able to pull it all together and get us ready and he was just pushing us to be at our best.”

Back-to-back strong performances from Spithill see his team back in contention for a second straight Season Grand Final appearance.

“The team was under real pressure going into the last two events, but we have stuck together and it’s given us a lot of belief and a lot of confidence,” said Spithill.

“Our coach Philippe has been spending a lot of long hours with the team collectively and individually and we’ve got to keep this going.

“It’s a great result for the team to get a big point spread like that and we’re going to try and carry that through to Dubai. I’m really impressed with how the team is coming together.”

Tens of thousands of people packed the shoreline for a second straight day in Cádiz but the home team Spain, driven by Jordi Xammar, failed to recreate its solid day one effort and finished the event in seventh place.

“Somehow, the way we sail doesn’t seem to be reflected in the results,” said Xammar.

“I thought this was the best we’d sailed and we still finished seventh. It just doesn’t seem to be our time yet no matter what we do. But you know what, it’s a long season, our time will come, we just need to keep going.”

With the European leg of Season 3 now over, SailGP’s global championship continues at the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas on 12 and 13 November.

 

Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz presented by Near Final Standings

1 // France // ten points
2 // United States // nine points
3 // Australia // eight points
4 // Canada // seven points
5 // Great Britain // six points
6 // New Zealand // five points
7 // Spain // four points
8 // Denmark // three points
9 // Switzerland // two points

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

 

sailgp.com

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