ABU DHABI, UAE – 14 January 2024 – The Australian SailGP Team’s remarkable streak of podium finishes in Season 4 came to an unexpected halt on the final day of racing in Abu Dhabi, as a fatal error on the racecourse left them out of contention for the Podium Final. Despite the setback, the Australia Team still maintains its pole position in the overall Season 4 leaderboard on 56 points, leading into their home event in Sydney.

Despite showcasing their ‘comeback king’ mentality by securing a dominant first place in the fourth fleet race, the Australians were dealt a severe blow during the fifth fleet race. A critical penalty incurred for crossing the start line early forced them to the back of the entire fleet, making it virtually impossible to recover and accumulate enough points to secure a spot in the Podium Final.

Driver Tom Slingsby expressed his disappointment with the unfortunate turn of events on Mina Zayed, calling out a potential technical failure as the cause of the team crossing the start line early.

“Heading into the fifth fleet race we were in the lead, and went from first to seventh place after that penalty. We were in such a good position to cross the start line but we pulled the trigger early as our software told us we were behind the line, but from the umpires booth they said we were over early by about half a metre. We have to look at it but we have trusted it in every start and unfortunately it failed us today, we are gutted”, said Slingsby.

Australia’s biggest rival New Zealand were crowned the champions of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix I presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, following the winner-takes-all final against USA and Spain.

Tom Slingsby said, “I couldn’t watch the Podium Final. I felt like I knew the Kiwis were going to win who are our biggest rivals and we were so close to knocking them out of the final had we not had the penalty, so that’s hard to swallow.”

Looking ahead, the Australians, along with their iconic flying kangaroo, will return to their home waters for the next event – the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney on February 24-25. This marks a record fifth occasion the league has raced on the stunning Sydney Harbour, a natural amphitheater renowned for hosting some of the most exhilarating racing action.

Reflecting on the upcoming event, Slingsby remarked, “We’re eager to bounce back and showcase what we can do in front of our home crowd and family. We have all grown up sailing on Sydney Harbour and we should get some good breeze so we can get these boats foiling like they should be in racing. Sydney Harbour has always been a special place for us, it really is our favourite event of the calendar and we will be coming out firing to win for our home crowd.”

Thousands of Australian fans are expected to descend on Sydney Harbour to witness the return of the green and gold team, with event tickets available via SailGP.com/Sydney

The SailGP F50 catamaran fleet start the first race on Race Day 2 of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 14th January 2024. Photo: Simon Bruty for SailGP.