The New Zealand SailGP Team's fine form continued on Saturday as it claimed two Fleet Race wins to top the leaderboard at the end of the opening day of the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix.
The Kiwis' two wins - sandwiching a lone victory for Australia - saw them end the day on 27 points, two points clear of the United States in second with the Aussies a further five behind.
The home French team - who have also shown major improvement over the past couple of events - sit just one point off the top-three podium places, aided largely by a second-place finish in the final race of the day in which Quentin Delapierre's team also set a new SailGP racing speed record of 99.94 km/h.
Great Britain, Spain, Denmark and Canada contest a tightly-packed midfield heading into Race Day 2, while Switzerland - hit with a four-point penalty due to a collision with the US during Friday's practice - prop up the rest of the table on nine points.
There was always going to be drama in the Côte d'Azur with forecasted gusts of over 40 km/h, and the racing did not disappoint.
New Zealand looked certain to finish behind Australia in second in the opening race, but the Aussies' reaction to a bold maneuver by Peter Burling saw the Flying Roo crash down in the water when going over 90 km/h in the final leg to lose all their speed and momentum - allowing the Kiwis to overtake them into the winning position.
This same incident damaged Australia's F50, but swift work by the shore crew meant they were ready for the second race of the day - and Tom Slingsby proved his undeniable quality by driving the Aussies to victory despite the damage.
The US finished second in this race; it was Jimmy Spithill's best showing on a remarkably consistent day which resulted in his team never once ending a race outside the top three. The US have lacked this consistency in Season 3, and will be hoping they have turned a corner as we head into the second half of the campaign.
Despite the Aussies' win in Fleet Race 2, New Zealand were back on top in the final race of the day, beating record-setters France and the US to a victory which moved them onto 27 points for the day.
The Kiwis will be hoping to continue their recent dominance - nine wins from the last 11 races in Plymouth, Copenhagen and Saint-Tropez - when the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix resumes at 14:30 CEST on Sunday.