SailGP’s Trans-Tasman rivalry heats up ahead of race weekend in Christchurch

Beating New Zealand on home turf a “bucket list item” for Tom Slingsby’s Australian crew

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – 22 March 2024 – The historic Trans-Tasman sporting rivalry has reached fever pitch, as Tom Slingsby’s Australia SailGP Team prepares to battle it out on the spectacular waters of Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour at the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch on 23/24 March. 

The ninth event of Season 4 gets underway tomorrow with Tom Slingsby and the three-time defending champions, Australia, sitting on top of the overall leaderboard, just eight points ahead of their biggest rival, the recently-rebranded Black Foils – New Zealand SailGP Team in second position. 

As anticipation builds among the F50 fleet, all 10 rival nations took part in a practice session on the Lyttelton Harbour racecourse, providing a strategic opportunity for teams to assess their competitors and the conditions before the official racing begins. 

Slingsby and his crew are hungry to secure back-to-back victories in Christchurch this weekend, following their nail-biting first-place finish on home waters at the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney last month. 

Speaking at the press conference, Slingsby said: “As an Aussie sportsman, it doesn’t matter what sport it is, you want to come to New Zealand and beat the Kiwis on their home turf. It’s one of those bucket list items you want to do.” 

“But winning in New Zealand against a top Kiwi team is hard to do. It’s a mountain to climb but we love motivation like that.”

Peter Burling will return to the driver seat of the New Zealand Team after missing Sydney for the birth of his child, while Nathan Outteridge takes over as driver for the Switzerland SailGP Team for the remainder of Season 4, as Sebastien Schneiter steps down to focus on his Paris 2024 Olympic campaign.

“I couldn’t be happier for Nathan in his new role with the Swiss. As an athlete you want to perform against the very best and Nathan falls into that category. It’s only a temporary position, but I have no doubt that he will be driving full time for another team in the future.”

Australian viewers can catch all of the action-packed racing when the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch gets underway from 1pm AEDT, Saturday 23 March, live on Fox Sports and Kayo Freebies. For details on how to watch around the globe visit SailGP.com/watch

For fans in Christchurch, limited tickets are still available. Head to SailGP.com/Christchurch for more information and to secure a ticket.

ITM NEW ZEALAND SAIL GRAND PRIX | CHRISTCHURCH //  

Day One Racing: Saturday 23 March, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm AEDT 

Day Two Racing: Sunday 24 March, 1:00 pm. – 2:30 pm AEDT 

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