“I think everyone knows Italy is one of my favorite places to live and race,” said Jimmy Spithill, who opened this morning’s ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix press conference speaking in Italian, much to the appreciation of the locals in the audience.

Case in point, the last time the U.S. SailGP Team raced in Taranto, “We had a great event when we were here in Season 2, making it to the final podium race,” said Spithill, U.S. SailGP Team’s driver and CEO. Ultimately the American team finished in third after their F50 unexpectedly collided with a submerged object, robbing the team of likely victory.

Season 4 // United States with the F50 fleet in Taranto

After a promising performance in Saint-Tropez two weeks ago, Spithill said he can feel the excitement in the team. “The fact is, the hard work we are doing in between events is starting to pay off. We came into Sunday in Saint-Tropez one point off the lead and had a real chance of making that final race.”

Ultimately, they finished the France Sail Grand Prix in fifth place, which moved the U.S. SailGP Team into sixth place in the Season 4 standings, within striking distance of the overall podium should they deliver a top-three performance this weekend.

Season 4 // Spanish strategist crosses Spain F50 in Taranto practice racing

Spithill believes Taranto may be the turning point for the team’s season. “With the team’s momentum so far this season, I feel like we’re very close to cracking into that Super Sunday final. Let’s hope this is the one.”

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

During practice racing earlier today, the American squad finished in the top three twice, but still struggled to get off the line – a critical race component that has haunted Spithill and will be a focus in this evening’s debrief and preparation for official racing tomorrow.

“As we’re getting closer to the top level, it’s the little things that matter and we’re hoping for a good event here this weekend,” said Spithill. “We’re ready.”

U.S. SailGP fans can watch this weekend’s action live at 7:30 a.m. EDT Saturday and Sunday on SailGP’s YouTube channel. CBS Sports will show the weekend’s racing live on Saturday (7:30 a.m. EDT) and Sunday’s finale will show tape delayed at 4:30 p.m. EDT.