France driver Quentin Delapierre has dissected the first day of racing on San Francisco Bay, which saw Emirates GBR inflict brutal chaos tactics on the French.
France sits just one point ahead of Emirates GBR heading into the event, teeing up a dramatic showdown between the two teams. When racing got underway, Ben Ainslie’s crew played havoc with the French from the start, blocking Delapierre’s team in the pre-starts.
Speaking after racing, Delapierre said he ‘expected’ Emirates GBR’s aggressive match racing tactics but admitted he was surprised Ainslie targeted him from the off.
“They trust their skills and maneuvers and they are just one point behind us,” he said. “I was surprised that it was directly from the first race (…) and I am frustrated because I think in the first two races were could have got a hook or rolled him, but we didn’t manage to achieve it.”
In the pre-start of the third fleet however France responded, following Emirates GBR on their right hand side approach to the line.
“I had to be prepared for match racing because if he took the right side and we stayed on the left, his position would have been too strong,” he said. “I was just forced to get into match racing.”
The current standings after the first day of racing mean that Emirates GBR would replace France in the three-boat showdown, with the British team currently sitting five points clear of Delapierre’s crew.
Looking ahead to the second day of racing, Delapierre said the team would ‘regroup, reset and stay optimistic.”
“It’s a special moment competing to get into the Grand Final of SailGP and you just have to enjoy sailing and do what we can do.”
Meanwhile Ainslie said he was satisfied with the execution of his ‘game plan’ to rattle the French.
“We wanted to put a bit of pressure on France because we’ve seen that if they get a good start and get away, they can sail the boat really well and win races easily.”
Racing resumes at 14.30 PDT on Sunday, May 7. Full broadcast information and How to Watch details are HERE.