Ainslie praise as Land Rover BAR stretch series lead
Sir Ben Ainslie praised his Land Rover BAR team after they stretched their lead at the top of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series standings.
A third-place finish in the Toulon leg of the competition saw the Portsmouth-based side move 14 points clear of their rivals, with one series event left – in Fukuoka, Japan, in November.
A third, first and fourth-place finish in yesterday’s Super Sunday races, where double points were on offer – coupled with Saturday’s efforts (two sixth places and a first) saw Ainslie & Co accumulate 70 points from their weekend efforts.
That was six points adrift of Toulon winners, Artemis Racing (76), and one short of runners-up Softbank Team Japan (71).
But with main rivals for the series win, Emirates Team New Zealand (63) and Oracle Team USA (57) finishing fifth and sixth respectively, it mean’s the gap has widened at the top ahead of the visit to Japan.
BAR sit at the summit on 437 points, with Oracle now on 423 and Emirates on 420.
And Ainslie was delighted his team responded well to their frustrations on day one in Toulon.
‘All credit to the team, it was a big improvement on Saturday and it needed to be for those double points on the Sunday,’ said skipper and team principal Ainslie.
‘It was a good day for racing, a better breeze than Saturday.
‘We would have liked to have got closer to winning – I think Artemis sailed really well – but to increase our lead in the World Series going into the final event in Japan in November is a big deal for our team.
‘There was less emphasis on the tactical and strategic yesterday, but there are still a lot of decisions to be made and Giles Scott really helped me out.
‘Also, Rob Wilson and Luc du Bois, our coach and analyst, really helped to set us straight, and that’s really positive for the whole team looking forward to the Cup next summer.’
Ainslie admitted he wouldn’t be taking anything for granted as thoughts quickly turned to the final event in Japan.
‘We are going to go into the last event in Japan with a reasonable lead of fourteen points,’ he added.
‘Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand are our primary rivals, so I don’t think we can take anything for granted.
‘We are going to have to sail well to keep that lead, and that’s what we are really focused on – getting those bonus points heading into the Cup next year.
‘We shouldn’t forget that there is a lot going on back in Portsmouth.
‘Our designers and boat builders are working extremely hard. This is a critical testing phase for us, so that will be the primary focus now. When we get closer to Japan, we will get our mind set right for racing again.’