The Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team secured their second event win in a row after winning the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix title.
Ben Ainslie described day two as ‘chalk and cheese,’ in comparison to yesterday’s heavy wind conditions. Light breeze tested the SailGP fleet today, which led to a change in the F50 crew numbers going from six to four on board for racing.
After a long-running win drought, Emirates GBR bounced back in Saint-Tropez, earlier this month and this weekend they put in another impressive winning performance to jump to second in the overall season leaderboard, behind Tom Slingsby Australian defending Champions.
Taranto was a weekend of two halves with day one seeing the teams’ battling gusts of 45 km/h on the windiest day of Season 4 so far, fighting to keep the F50s under control amid an unstable sea state. In stark contrast, day two was raced in extremely light and fickle conditions with the teams eking out every breath of breeze to get around the racetrack.
Emirates GBR scored a first and second in the day’s two fleet races to secure their place in the podium final vs USA and AUS. The breeze then dropped all together in the final and with the three teams unable to complete the course within the 16min race time limit, the event result went back to the standings at the end of the final fleet race, as a result Emirates GBR took the win.
Emirates CEO and Driver Ben Ainslie looked back on the weekend;
“It ended up being a crazy day out there today, especially in the last race, the wind was going in circles, and we didn’t really know what was going on at the end. The wind just completely backed off it looked like the US were going to have a pretty historic win, next the Aussies were back in it and at the last minute we bounced back to be in with a chance. Finally, came the race termination which meant we had the victory, so it was a real rollercoaster of emotions.
Emirates GBR strategist Hannah Mills also commented on the conditions and the team’s consistent performance in Taranto
“It was very tricky to read the wind, the pressure is all over the place and fast moving, it was all about putting the boat in the best spot and hoping luck was on your side. In this type of racing, consistency is key, and not finishing outside of the top three is something we aim for, so to do that in all six races of the weekend is impressive.”
Ainslie commented Emirates GBR’s recent upturn in form;
“This success has not come overnight, it’s down to teamwork, we have had our ups and downs but we have got a solid team and together, everyone has really done a good job improving performance in their respective roles and that has led to these consistent performances.
“Momentum is big in sport, and it definitely feels like we have that now, the win in Saint-Tropez was a big moment and then another here, we have Cadiz in a couple of weeks’ and our aim will be to keep the wins coming.”
The Italian event is the second of three European events this Season with Cadiz the last in two weeks’ time. UK viewers can watch the all the racing highlights from the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix on ITVX.