France driver Quentin Delapierre has reflected on the 11-event calendar of Season 3, which saw the French team climb from the back of the pack to become one of the top teams in SailGP.
France finished the Season 3 Championship in fourth overall, a huge improvement on the team’s eighth and last place finish in Season 2.
Despite this transformation, Delapierre admitted he ‘cannot say this season is a success’ after the team was narrowly knocked out of the three-boat, winner-takes-all Grand Final in fleet racing.
Heading into San Francisco, Delapierre’s team sat in third place, one point ahead of Ben Ainslie’s Emirates GBR. But when fleet racing got underway, the Brits zeroed in on the French, blocking their starts and deploying chaos tactics throughout to push them down the leaderboard.
Speaking after racing on the first day of San Francisco, Delapierre said he was surprised Ainslie came for the French “directly from the first race”, adding that he was ‘frustrated’ he didn’t respond better.
After fleet racing, Emirates GBR squeaked into the three-boat showdown in France’s place, denying Delapierre from fulfilling his season-long ambition to secure a place in the Grand Final.
“Day one of San Francisco was a tough day for us - we missed the pre-starts in three races against the Brits and that cost us the Grand Final,” he said.
However, the team had responded with ‘a great reaction’ on day two, he said, netting a race win and ending the event with a 6-8-6-1-6 fleet racing record.
Reflecting on the season, he said: “I cannot say this season is a success - finishing fourth is never success, but obviously it’s a really good improvement for the team. We missed the Grand Final so I just want to work for next season and make it.”
He added that he felt ‘lucky’ to be a part of the team and was already beginning preparations to kick Season 4 off in style next month.
“We want to prepare for Chicago now - it’s crazy that the next season is so soon but we want to be in good shape.”