United States driver Jimmy Spithill has said the team is still in the hunt for a coveted place in the three-boat, winner-takes-all Season 3 Grand Final, insisting ‘there are still a lot of points available’.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of racing, Spithill reflected on the trials and tribulations of the U.S. team throughout Season 3. These have seen the Americans veer from the lows of an eighth place finish at their home event in Chicago, to the highs of securing an event win in Saint-Tropez.
As a result, the U.S. is ‘one of the few teams that have shown [they] can actually win this season,’ Spithill said.
He pointed to the amount of rotation of the U.S. team this season, which has included the absence and return of former flight controller Rome Kirby, and admitted the amount of disruption has been both ‘planned and not planned’.
However, the rotation has been key to Spithill’s aim of ‘building depth to the team’s roster’.
“When I look back, we’ve had broken legs, sickness, conflicts in schedules, but as a professional sports team, you have to be ready for that - and the only way to be ready is to have depth in your roster,” he said. He added that the team ‘is in a much better position now’ than they were ‘in Season 2’.
“We’ve actually got a roster where we can bring people in and out, and cycle them through,” he said, adding that he is now ‘happy with the team’.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s racing in Christchurch , Spithill remained adamant the team stands a fighting chance of securing a place in May’s Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco.
“There’s still a lot of racing to go and with the penalty system, any time there’s damage or a collision, there’s a lot of points that can be lost very quickly and a lot can change.”
Going into the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch, the team currently sit in six overall, nine points behind France in third and 24 points behind season leader Australia.
But heading into racing, Spithill will be ‘focusing on one race at a time’.
“We just need to string together some consistent races and get ready to come out firing in San Francisco,” he said. “Who knows what could happen - things can change really quickly.”
The ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch takes place on March 18 & 19, with racing kicking off at 15:00 NZDT. Full broadcast information and How To Watch details are HERE.