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Box office racing in Chicago

19 JUNE 2022News
Tags:
  • Great Britain
  • Great Britain

The opening day of the T-Mobile United States Sail Grand Prix saw the Great British SailGP Team make a solid and steady start, finishing the day in second place overall after three podium finishes (2,3,2).

The sell-out crowd on Chicago’s famous Navy Pier were given a treat of adrenaline packed action with three breathtaking race starts quickly followed by a nine F50’s drag racing to the first mark.

Described by Ben Ainslie as ‘Box office’, conditions were full on with choppy sea state and wind gusts of 30 km/h +. The course configuration also added to the difficulty levels, located off Chicago’s Navy Pier, you could choose between starting inside or outside a gap in a breakwater located close to the line. Starting outside meant you could get a good run to the line, while inside you would have less run in but more control of timing and position. The British team chose the inside option for every race, which resulted in excellent starts and put the team in solid positions.

Reflecting on the opening day’s action Great Britain SailGP Driver and Co-owner, Ben Ainslie said: “Today was brilliant, box office racing with this tight Chicago racetrack lending itself to full on action from start to finish. We followed our strategy well, we wanted to make good starts and put on a solid display and that conservative approach paid off. Tomorrow, the conditions are looking lighter, and we will need to bring our ‘A’ game again to make that all-important podium final, where anything can happen”

It was a big day for the flight controllers, who battled the unique challenges of a lumpy leeward end of the course and flat top-end. There was the added complication of fresh water sailing making flight control even more difficult with many teams falling off their foils.

GBR Flight Controller Luke Parkinson added: “On the flight controls it was all about picking your moments, flying low and conservative in the bumpy stuff and then trying to push the speed and going high on the foils in the flat. We balanced it well and managed to make some good gains, it was challenging but good fun out there”

Day two of the T-Mobile United States Grand Prix continues tomorrow with all the action live from 20:00PM BST on Sky Sports and YouTube in the UK. The day consists of two fleet races with the top three placed teams going on to the podium race.