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New helm for France SailGP Team

Published on September 28th, 2021

The France SailGP Team will have a new driver for the next SailGP event as Quentin Delapierre takes over from Billy Besson for the remainder of SailGP Season 2. Besson has been integral to the French team since its inception in 2018, but 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 last on the leaderboard.

Fresh off the back of the Tokyo Olympic Games, where Delapierre placed eighth in the Mixed Multihull event, the 29 year old from Vannes (Brittany) 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.

“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,” said Team Manager Bruno Dubois. “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.”

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.

“When I started sailing the Nacra 17 (for Tokyo 2020 Olympics), I knew that it may bring the potential for me to get involved in this kind of project,” said Delapierre. “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.”

Delapierre will get his first test at the Spain Sail Grand Prix on October 9-10.

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SailGP Season Championship (after 5 events)
1. Japan, 37 pts
2. United States, 35 pts
3. Australia, 35 pts
4. Great Britain, 34 pts
5. Spain, 31 pts
6. New Zealand, 30 pts
7. Denmark, 28 pts
8. France, 27 pts

Format for SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three races on each day, totaling six races at each event.
• The opening five fleet races involve every team.
• The final match race pits the three highest ranking teams against each other to be crowned event champion.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.

SailGP Season 2 Schedule*
April 24-25, 2021 – Bermuda Grand Prix
June 5-6, 2021 – Italy Grand Prix – Taranto
July 17-18, 2021 – Great Britain Grand Prix – Plymouth
August 20-21, 2021 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Grand Prix – Aarhus
September 11-12, 2021 – France Grand Prix – Saint-Tropez
October 9-10, 2021 – Spain Grand Prix – Andalusia
December 17-18, 2021 – Australia Grand Prix – Sydney
January 29-30, 2022 – New Zealand Grand Prix – Christchurch (CANCELLED)
March 26-27, 2022 – United States Grand Prix – San Francisco (Season 2 Grand Final)
*Subject to change

2021-22 Teams, Helm
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Quentin Delapierre
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie (alternate – Paul Goodison)
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling (alternate – Arnaud Psarofaghis)
Spain, Jordi Xammar (alternate – Phil Robertson)
United States, Jimmy Spithill

Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans with the season culminating with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.

Source: SailGP

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