New Zealand driver Peter Burling has disagreed that the Kiwis were gifted the season lead by Australia’s Christchurch penalty, arguing ‘we have earned our right to be here’.

Speaking at a pre-event press conference in Bermuda, Burling looked back at Season 4 so far, pointing to New Zealand’s ‘dynamic’ season. He highlighted the team’s ‘massive wing failure’ at the end of racing on day one of Saint-Tropez, which took the team from ‘having a good shot at the event down to 8th’ and then ‘missing the event after’.

Season 4 // Peter Burling at Bermuda press conference

“If you look back at Saint-Tropez, I don’t think anyone would have thought we’d be top of the leaderboard right now,” he said. Securing four event wins - in Chicago, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Christchurch. - has only shown ‘the resilience of the team to stay in the fight and keep pushing forward,” he added.

Reflecting on Australia’s penalty - which saw the team docked 8 season points for hitting a race mark - Burling was sympathetic. “We don’t wish that on anyone but the policy is very clear, and we have earned our right to be here.”

Looking ahead to racing in Bermuda, Burling said he has his eyes on the rest of the fleet, not just the Australians, as the quality of racing increases.

New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch | Season 4 | Fleet | Racing

“It’s no secret that we love the rivalry with the Australians, but there’s other incredible teams here as well,” he said. “Everyone is stepping up their game, the racing is super tight and we’re under no illusion that we have to put together another great weekend in Bermuda to get into the Final.”

Racing in Bermuda begins at 2pm ADT on May 4/5.