ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team closes out 2023 in second place in the overall SailGP championship, despite a challenging event at the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas.
The Danish boat suffered mixed results in light conditions in the Middle East, with a last-placed finish on Saturday essentially putting paid to its hopes of striking a podium position.
“We were disappointed with Race Day 1, and know that our level is higher than we showed, so we wanted to go out on Sunday and put it right,” said Denmark driver Nicolai Sehested.
“Today was better – and we did okay, taking a third and a fifth spot. We cleaned up some of our mistakes from yesterday, but we lost a few too many points on Race Day 1 so it wasn’t enough to get us into the top positions.”
He adds: “It’s frustrating, but we have to look at the bigger picture. We’re sitting second in the league going into the new year, and if you’d offered us that at the beginning of the season, we would’ve taken it for sure.”
“The biggest positive is that, even on a weekend like this where it just doesn’t seem to click, we aren’t too far off the pace. These things happen in sport, and you have to go into damage limitation mode. I’m happy that we were able to claw back a sixth place here in Dubai, as those few extra points might make a big difference come the end of the season.”
New Zealand SailGP Team took the win in Dubai in a memorable final race with Australia and Canada which saw a three boat photo finish – one of the closest finishes in SailGP history.
Following the race, Jimmy Spithill, the outgoing USA team driver who stepped in to replace Aussie Tom Slingsby for this event, announced his retirement from SailGP.
“Jimmy is a legend of the sport, and we wish him well in his next endeavours with Italy SailGP Team in Season 5. I wouldn’t bet against seeing him behind the wheel of the F50 again in the future, he can’t stay away!” laughed Sehested.
Next up, the fleet heads to Abu Dhabi on 13-14 January to kick off 2024 – with seven more Sail Grand Prix between now and the end of Season 4.