France wins war at Spain SailGP
Published on September 25th, 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 U.S. team to wrap up Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cádiz on September 24-25.
This was the French team’s first event win in SailGP, and it boosted them into the all-important top three of the championship standings after six events of Season 3.
“We have come back from so far in the field to the top,” said Delapierre. “Last season we were last in Cádiz and the team has pushed really hard since the beginning of this season to keep the learning curve increasing so we are really happy.”
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, though the team 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 day one effort and the newcomers missed the final by one point.
“We had very good starts and stayed on the foils,” observed Canadian strategist Georgia Lewin-LaFrance. “We also managed to find our mode through the waves a bit better. No crashes or even close calls.”
The Spanish event was a test for all nine teams as they faced a significant swell and wave confusion bounding off the shoreline wall. With the wind in the teens, maintaining steady flight was a challenge with crash downs common. Day two had even more ocean confusion, and in the dying breeze, it became immensely hard to regain flight after falling off the foils.
But it was Delapierre who mastered it best, particularly as light winds saw just four athletes on board the F50, with the driver joined by Kevin Peponnet, Matthieu Vandame, and Manon Audinet.
Back to back strong performances from Spithill sees 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,” noted 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.
With the European leg of Season 3 now concluded, the teams will have a lot of time to ponder this event as SailGP’s global championship won’t race again until the Dubai Sail Grand Prix on November 12-13.
Final Results – Spain
1. France (Quintin Delapierre), 2-4-3-5-3 (1)
2. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 3-5-4-6-4 (2)
3. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 6-1-2-2-6 (3)
4. Canada (Phil Robertson), 7-8-6-1-1
5. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 8-2-1-3-9
6. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 1-6-5-8-7
7. Spain (Jordi Xammar), 4-3-7-7-8
8. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 9-7-8-4-2
9. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 5-9-9-9-5
Season Three Standings (after six of 11 events)
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 50 points
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 46 points
3. France (Quintin Delapierre), 41 points
4. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 40 points
5. Canada (Phil Robertson), 36 points
6. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 36 points
7. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 34 points
8. Spain (Jordi Xammar), 19 points
9. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 14 points
2022-23 SailGP Season 3 Schedule
May 14-15, 2022 – Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess
June 18-19, 2022 – United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
July 30-31, 2022 – Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
August 19-20, 2022 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
September 10-11, 2022 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 24-25, 2022 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
November 12-13, 2022 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
January 13-14, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
February 17-18, 2023 – Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney
March 17-18, 2023 – New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
May 6-7, 2023 – United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 3 Grand Final)
Format for 2022-23 SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three qualifying races each day for all nine teams.*
• The top three teams from qualifying advance to a final race to be crowned event champion and earn the largest share of the $300,000 prize money to be split among the top three teams.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.
* Qualifying schedule increased from five to six races at France SailGP.
For competition documents, click here.
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 for event prize money as the season culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.