The KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix on 18-19 February will see the SailGP fleet take flight in Sydney Harbour – with one team determined to pile the pressure on the overall podium positions.
Last month, the Denmark SailGP Team scored its best ever result in SailGP, taking second spot in Singapore following a dramatic final race against eventual winners New Zealand SailGP Team and two-time SailGP champions Australia. And driver Nicolai Sehested is delighted that the Danes are proving they can compete against the league’s top teams.
“We’re very happy with Singapore, as it puts us back in a great position to make a play for the overall podium spots as we enter the business end of Season 3,” he explains.
“We went into Race Day 2 in Singapore knowing that we needed to put in consistently solid performances under pressure. Those situations ask big questions of a team, and, under pressure, we stepped up and answered them. That’s a big boost for us going into the final sprint of the season.”
He adds: ‘We of course have a lot of work to do, and points to gain. But we are seeing signs of a top team and that’s what we’ve been aiming for since day one.”
The result in Singapore leaves Denmark in fifth place overall, just three points off Great Britain SailGP Team which currently occupies the final podium position going into Sydney.
The top three teams in the United States Sail Grand Prix in San Francisco in two events’ time will make it to the winner-takes-all grand final.
Back to where it all began
Indeed, the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix will mark a return to where it all began for Denmark, as the nation kicked of its SailGP journey in Sydney Harbour almost exactly three years ago.
“We have really fond memories of racing in Sydney, as it represents such a big landmark for our whole team,” continues Sehested.
“Coming into a league like SailGP with less than 20 hours experience onboard these insane boats was a baptism of fire, and looking back at the footage you can see that we were more focused on getting around the course than actually racing.”
He adds: “But it also shows just how far we have progressed as a team since then. There’s really no substitute for experience in these boats, but if you keep making the most of your time on the water, and putting in the hours and effort off it, then you will improve.”
More Speed Less Plastic
Denmark SailGP Team may have finished second on the water in Singapore, but it took the honours off it – winning the Impact League for the third time in Season 3. The Danes shared the prize with New Zealand thanks to a tie, and Sehested commended his rivals for their collaboration.
“We are taking the Impact League seriously and putting our best foot forward, with the help of our partners ROCKWOOL and One Ocean Foundation. It’s a tight race at the top and just three points splits us from the Kiwis, who are leading.”
Sehested continues: “But it’s not just about the top teams – all of the teams are making a great effort to deliver positive impact as we race around the world. We launched our More Speed Less Plastic initiative in Singapore which was a great success, and actually saw us team up with New Zealand SailGP Team to help divert more than 1.5 tonnes of ocean-bound plastic waste from our seas.”
The KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney takes place on 18-19 February, starting at 1600 local time, or 0600 CET in Denmark on TV2 Sport. To find out how and when to catch SailGP in your market, head to sailgp.com/watch