SailGP: False start costs New Zealand as Australia claim victory in Sydney finale

New Zealand has missed the chance to go top of the SailGP leaderboard, as hosts Australia claimed victory on their home waters in Sydney.  

Led by Nathan Outteridge in the absence of Peter Burling, the Kiwi crew crossed the line last in the three-boat final race, as Australia and Denmark finished first and second respectively.  

And despite holding a six-point advantage over New Zealand at the top of the leaderboard, Sydney is Australia's first event win of the season.  

However, things could have been so much different for New Zealand, who along with Australia, were penalised for crossing the start line too early, in a chaotic beginning to the final that saw Denmark in front at the first mark.  

"It was obviously not the start we were wanting there," said Slingsby.   

"We kind of got ourselves into a great spot, and then pulled the trigger too early. Honestly, we didn't realise the Aussies were over too early there, and we should have had them on toast.  

"Obviously we had to let the Denmark team through, and it was pretty tough after that.  

"We just kept fighting, trying to find some options. It just wasn't to be today."

From there, Australia and Denmark battled for the lead, before driver Tom Slingsby's class ultimately told, as the hosts held off their competition in a drag race to the finish on the final leg.  

Finishing third in the decider ends New Zealand's winning streak, after victories in Dubai and Abu Dhabi had the Kiwis breathing down Australia's neck at the top of the leaderboard.  

Earlier, Outteridge had shown a masterful knowledge of the conditions in the day's opener to finish second, while Germany claimed their first race win in SailGP.  

However, race two saw an unfamiliar situation for New Zealand and Australia – who battled for seventh place as France claimed victory, albeit with the final places all but sewn up.  

Victory extends Australia's championship lead to 10 points, sitting top of the pile with 68 points.   

New Zealand are six points clear in second place with 58, six clear of Denmark on 52.   

The Kiwis have the chance to return serve late next month, when SailGP returns to Christchurch from March 23-24. 

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