NZ leading SailGP event in Lyttelton after strong opening day

Sat, Mar 18
The NZ SailGP team.

The New Zealand SailGP team has made the most of near-perfect conditions in home waters with three top-two finishes on day one of the Lyttelton regatta to lead the event.

The Kiwis came away with two second-place finishes either side of a win in race two to lead the Lyttelton event with two more races to come tomorrow before the top three crews square off in the final.

The day got off to a delayed start but unlike other Kiwi sporting events being hindered by weather this week, it was instead a couple of dolphins in Lyttelton Harbour making a brief appearance before the opening race.

You can't blame them for wanting a front row seat for what was to come.

Peter Burling and his crew put on a superb performance on the day in what is New Zealand's first taste of live SailGP action after almost three seasons.

Burling and company started slow in the first race but managed to maneuver their way back into the contest after sitting seventh at the second gate.

That saw the Kiwis fly into second behind Quentin Delapierre and France and although they tried, they couldn't rein in the French in time and settled for second with Great Britain coming in third.

Burling then responded with a near-flawless second race, using the foundations of an impressive start to cement the lead in the third leg while watching the Aussies - who had been vocal about wanting to rain on the Kiwi parade this week - come off their foils in a costly turn at the fifth gate.

In fact, not even a penalty to start the third race could deny the New Zealanders of a third podium finish with Amokura recovering to slice through the field and finish second behind Canada.

As a result, New Zealand leads after three races with 28 points while Canada is second four points back and Great Britain round out the top three on 23.

France are a chance of cracking the final race in fourth on 21 points while the Australians have some work to do on 18.


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