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Ocean Safety 2023 - New Identity - LEADERBOARD

Australia dominates opening day in Taranto with two first place finishes

by Australia SailGP Team 23 Sep 2023 17:57 BST 23-24 September 2023
Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby in action on Race Day 1 of the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto, Italy © Felix Diemer for SailGP

Impressive first day of racing for the Flying Roos as they push for their first win of the season

Tom Slingsby's Australia team got off to a world class start in day 1 of the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix | Taranto in one of the windiest SailGP race days to date in Season 4 with an impressive 1-1-5 finish.

Australia took advantage of its favoured gusty wind conditions in Taranto, flying over the start line in race 1 and maintaining an unchallenged lead for the race, 300m ahead of the other boats and averaging speeds of 65k/ph. The Flying Roos then executed another perfect start in Race 2, to secure its second win of the day with second place GBR Emirates, driven by Ben Ainslie, unable to catch the Aussies in either race.

A frustrating early start penalty in the final race of the day resigned Australia to the back of the pack, giving the team a tough challenge to find their way into the race but Tom Slingsby and his team fought hard to finish fifth.

Tom Slingsby said: "We had a great day out there today. A little frustrating to break the start on race 3 as it could have been an amazing day with top results, but we are really happy how we sailed overall in the tough conditions. It will be interesting to see how tomorrow goes, with the lighter winds, we will see that play to the strengths of some of the other teams."

Emirates GBR finished at the top of the leaderboard after the first day of racing in Taranto, Southern Italy, finishing with 26 points, with Australia in equal second place also on 26 points. France are in third position on 24 points followed by ROCKWOOL Denmark in fifth place on 23 points following its win in race 3.

The Australia team is confident going into day 2 of Taranto, hungry to secure its first win of the season. It has been in the three-boat Final at all three of the Season 4 events so far and sits on top of the overall SailGP rankings going into this weekend.

Conditions are expected to change tomorrow in Taranto with winds moving to a north west direction and dropping to the 10-15 knot range on the forecast. Two more fleet races are on the slate followed by the all-important final three-way shoot-out between the podium teams.

It was announced today that Peter Burling's New Zealand team has been granted a fifth-place finish and six season points for the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix despite not competing in the event, after it was determined that the league could not feasibly transport and fit a replacement wing in time to race this weekend. This follows damage to its wing sail sustained during the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez earlier this month.

The ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix | Taranto continues on Sunday 24 September with two days of racing on Taranto. To catch all the action on the water in the race day final tomorrow tune in to 7+, 7mate, Kayo Sports or Fox Sports from 9.30pm -11.00pm AEST - to find out more, go to SailGP.com/Watch.

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