McLeod fights tough conditions at Budapest thriller
Master Class pilot Pete McLeod has flown in rough weather ever since he got his pilot’s license, but rainy, wind-whipped conditions on a technical track at the landmark 70thRed Bull Air Race challenged even the experienced Canadian. At the race in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, McLeod struggled to find his rhythm in the opening gates; and by the time he settled in, two penalties had put him behind his opponent Nigel Lamb (GBR) in a knockout Round of 14 head-to-head.
July 18, 2016 By Red Bull Air Race
“The conditions were pretty bad out there today. It wasn’t an ideal run for me. I wasn’t quite ready for the racetrack because we had to rush [for the weather window],” said the Team Garmin pilot, who is at ninth in the overall standings. “Maybe with hindsight I was a little too aggressive in the track. But I like tough conditions, I just wasn’t ready. It’s a very compressed track and everything comes at you very fast.”
The rain couldn’t drown out the cheers of the 20,000 spectators as they lined both banks of the Danube, and the abbreviated Red Bull Air Race in Budapest wasn’t short on thrills, as Germany’s Matthias Dolderer confidently delivered the best time in the Round of 8 despite race winds that pilots said were the most turbulent they could remember. Due to weather delays, the safe flight window could not accommodate the full racing program, and when the Round of 4 was cancelled, race results were determined by the Round of 8 times. Dolderer’s 58.653 seconds clinched his victory, while Austria’s Hannes Arch was second and Australia’s Matt Hall took third.
A finish based on Round of 8 results awards 75% of the points given in a full race. In earning his second win of the season, Dolderer increased his tally in the World Championship points to 41.25, putting him 15.25 points ahead of Arch in second. American Kirby Chambliss, who rounded out the Budapest Final 4, now sits just behind in the third position with 25.25 points.
Dolderer also earned the DHL Fastest Lap Award, a component introduced this season that defines a new standard of speed at the Red Bull Air Race. Due to the weather conditions, the weekend’s Challenger Cup competition was cancelled.