Monday, April 22, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupFrom Rally Cars to Foiling: Red Bull Champions Experience AC40 Action in...

From Rally Cars to Foiling: Red Bull Champions Experience AC40 Action in Jeddah

Two Red Bull rally car champs got a real taste of some AC40 foiling action in Jeddah this month as they swapped their driving suits for wetsuits for a day last week. And they were not disappointed! Hitting speeds of nearly 40 knots, they took part in some full-throttle match racing during training.

Spanish car racing legend Carlos Sainz was fresh off his Dakar Rally Ultimate class win in January, while another recent Dakar winner in the light prototypes, Cristina Gutiérrez, was also part of the visit. Each of them captured titles last month at world’s most prestigious offroad event, which took place over two weeks and 12 stages of racing across rugged desert. On this day, they were wide-eyed debutantes.

“I’ve never done something like this before,” said Carlos. “It was the first time sailing for me like this and I was able to do it with one of the best teams in the world.”

“In the beginning, I had no idea what to do,” said Cristina. “They were teaching me about the numbers and the equipment, then I really started to enjoy it a lot. It was amazing.”

The day began with a briefing at the Alinghi Red Bull Racing training base. After group introductions and a tour of the facilities, Carlos and Cristina jumped in the cockpit of their AC40s for a lesson in hydro foiling and all-out speed on the water. “When you sit down, you just feel that adrenaline in the carbon seat and then you have the wheel which gives you a similar sensation to us in our cars,” said Cristina. “One of the most interesting things was the speed that you can reach in the boat. Even with less winds you can reach such high speeds and such ability to make quick manoeuvres with such stability. For me, that’s the most impressive thing.”

Carlos Sainz was on-board with Nicolas Charbonnier, Nicolas Rolaz and Bryan Mettraux and Cristina Gutiérrez was on the other AC40 with Arnaud Psarofaghis, Yves Detrey and Lucien Cujean.

“You are at the limits in terms of forces and power,” said Carlos Sainz. “The coordination between the sailors and the discipline of the crew is amazing. It’s a great experience. All my respect to the people competing in America’s Cup because with this new generation of foiling boats, it’s bringing sail racing to another level. I will be watching. I can guarantee you that!”

“These two have racing in their DNA and you could tell from their competitiveness out on the water,” said helmsman Nicolas Charbonnier. “We have a lot of similarities in our respective sports when it comes to things like preparation, a huge emphasis on technology and the need for different team departments to support our campaigns.”

After the morning on the water, the two drivers and the sailing team members all headed back to the training base to share more stories about racing and the extensive testing that goes into getting their respective race machines ready.

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