The U.S. team’s hard work in-between events is starting to ‘pay off’, according to driver Jimmy Spithill.

Speaking at a pre-event press conference ahead of this weekend’s racing in Taranto, Spithill said the U.S. team has been ‘slowly building momentum’ and is ‘very close to cracking into the super Sunday Final.’

It comes after the American team had an improved showing in Saint-Tropez, which saw them in the running to make the three-boat, winner-takes-all Final.

Season 4 // United States driver Jimmy Spithill at Taranto press conference

Reflecting on the event, Spithill said: “We came into Sunday one point off the lead and had a real chance of making that final race.”

However, 8th and 7th place finishes in the 4th and 5th fleet races pushed the Americans down the leaderboard, and they finished the event in 5th overall.

“We were in a great position and we just needed one great result,” Spithill said about the fifth fleet race. “We debriefed and looked back at that race, but I just don’t know what we would have done differently - at the end of the day the other teams did a better job.”

Season 4 // Taranto press Conference with Ben Ainslie, Diego Botin, Tom Slingsby, Sebastien Schneiter and Jimmy Spithill

Looking ahead to this weekend’s racing in Italy, Spithill said the team’s ‘hard work between the events is starting to pay off.

He pointed to the Season 4 success of Spain and ROCKWOOL DEN, adding that winning in SailGP is ‘a real time game’.

Season 4 // United States F50 with T-Mobile For Business branding

“[For the Spanish and Danish teams], there hasn’t been a shortcut to go out there and start winning but now things are really starting to click and push at the to end,” he said. “At the top level, it’s the little things that matter- and we’re hoping for a good race.”

The ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto takes place this weekend on September 23-24, with racing scheduled between 13:30-15:00 CEST.