Saturday’s racing on the Rade Nord racecourse, just off the Seawall, is set to be exciting for fans as they will have a front-row seat to the rivalry between Tom Slingsby of the Australia SailGP Team and Nathan Outteridge’s Japan team. After Friday’s intense showdown, where Outteridge took two race wins and put several aggressive match racing tactics to use, the Aussies are expected to come out firing.
Even though Slingsby still has a hold on the top of the leaderboard, Outteridge expects his full wrath during today’s racing.
“Nathan seems confident, but we are 2-1 up against him in the match races, and the only reason we lost in New York is because I made an error,” said Slingsby. “Nathan beat us in two races, but we were more consistent. I was thrilled with that. It was one of the best days of sailing we had in those kinds of conditions.”
High winds and gusty conditions are expected on the Rade Nord racecourse, giving the athletes an additional challenge. The events in Cowes and New York saw similar conditions that caused capsizes and kept several teams from finishing races. It is likely audiences may see the teams throttle back their aggression to keep the boats upright and limit damage, to ensure they get points on the board.
Billy Besson and his hometown France SailGP Team will be looking to show off for the crowds lining the Seawall spectator area. On Friday, the helmsman riled crowds with his aggressive starts, leading the fleet into the first mark on several of the races. Marseille’s Vieux Port area made for a perfect backdrop for the French Team and the team delighted in seeing the French flags waving at every turn.
Dylan Fletcher’s Great Britain SailGP Team had one of their best days of racing yet, scoring three podium finishes. After the disappointment of New York and Cowes, Fletcher wants to cement his current third-place standing by staying ahead of Rome Kirby’s American team and finish the season on the podium.
“It was fantastic just to be racing again and finish all three races, to have three top three results and to be racing the Australians and Japanese so competitively was the most important part of it. It’s really important to finish on the podium and round up what has been a roller coaster of a year for us,” said Fletcher.
Fletcher was able to surpass Kirby’s U.S. team to take third after they suffered a technical breakdown forcing them to retire from the first two races of the day yesterday. Kirby plans to come out fighting to make up for lost points.
“We have nothing to lose now, we were on the podium, and now we are not – it’s game on for us. We have faced adversity in the past, and we will be fine,” said Kirby.
Fans can expect no shortage of drama on the water, as the Marseille SailGP Season 1 Grand Final Championship race grows closer and closer.
Racing kicks off at 2:30 p.m. CEST.
For how to watch in your area head to SailGP.com/watch.