As SailGP looks ahead to this month’s KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney, we round up January’s top stories, from Abu Dhabi predictions to Australia driver Tom Slingsby’s post Abu Dhabi reaction.

Predictions revealed: Fans split by Australia or New Zealand victory in Abu Dhabi

Season 4 // SailGP fleet on start line in Abu Dhabi

First up was the results of Abu Dhabi’s pre-race predictions, which saw fans split between backing New Zealand and Australia for the ultimate victory. Fans were split, with 26% a piece both backing the Kiwis and Aussies to win in Abu Dhabi. Ultimately though, it was Peter Burling’s New Zealand which took the win, battling it out with Spain and the United States when the three-boat Final got underway.

How New Zealand’s starting speed sealed their Abu Dhabi victory against Spain and the USA

Season 4 // Oracle Insights Thumbnail - Abu Dhabi Final

Next up, we delve into the data behind New Zealand’s Abu Dhabi victory, which showed the Kiwis’ starting speed was critical to their win. New Zealand clocked a starting speed of 27.8 km/h - far exceeding Spain’s 14.2 km/h and the USA’s 16.2 km/h respectively.

WATCH: The surprising results of SailGP’s in-development T-Foils

The results of SailGP’s most recent T-Foil tests proved popular with SailGP fans. Set to replace the current L-Foils in Season 5, the T-Foils delivered a 15% speed increase and allowed the F50 to foil in lighter airs than usual in preliminary testing phases.

“We’re closing the gap to the Aussies”: Burling reacts to Abu Dhabi win

Season 4 // Peter Burling in Saint Tropez Mixed Zone
Peter Burling’s post event reaction

Next up was Slingsby’s dissection of Abu Dhabi, which saw the Aussies miss their first Final of Season 4. Despite leading the fleet heading into the last fleet race, Australia finished the event in 7th overall after picking up an OCS penalty. “We went from 1st place to 7th place in one race,” Slingsby said after racing.

Slingsby challenges new drivers: “Prove you’re the best by winning”

Season 4 // Tom Slingsby with Diego Botin and Sebastien Schneiter at Abu Dhabi press conference

Ahead of Abu Dhabi, Australia driver Tom Slingsby used the pre-event press conference to challenge the next generation of SailGP drivers to prove their worth by winning an events. Slingsby was reacting to the recent retirements of former Emirates GBR driver Ben Ainslie and former USA driver Jimmy Spithill from the sport.

Full Abu Dhabi crew lists revealed

Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix | Season 4 | Switzerland | Crew

The full crew lists of Abu Dhabi were next up, with the line-ups of every team revealed. Key highlights included Giles Scott taking over as Emirates GBR driver and Nathan Outteridge subbing in for ROCKWOOL DEN driver Nicolai Sehested.

“The Kiwis are more of an all-round package than the Aussies”

Season 4 // New Zealand celebrate Abu Dhabi victory outside Adrenaline Lounge

SailGP’s commentators’ post-race debrief came next, with all three commentators claiming New Zealand has an edge over Australia in tricky light air venues. The Kiwis won back-to back events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, overcoming marginal foiling conditions in light winds.

5 things to watch out for when racing gets underway

Season 4 // Close up of Australia driver Tom Slingsby in Cadiz

Next up was our event preview checklist, with Giles Scott’s debut as Emirates GBR driver, Tom Slingsby’s return to the circuit and Nathan Outteridge subbing in as ROCKWOOL DEN driver as key things to watch out for when racing got underway.

Ben Ainslie steps down as Emirates GBR driver; Giles Scott handed helm

Season 4 // Emirates GBR driver Ben Ainslie waves to the camera

Last up was the bombshell news that former Emirates GBR driver Ben Ainslie was stepping down with immediate effect from his driving role on board the F50. Ainslie, who remains CEO of the team, handed the helm to Giles Scott, his teammate on the INEOS Britannia America’s Cup Team.