HELLO AND WELCOME TO ROUND 6 OF THE 2015 RED BULL AIR RACE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FROM THE RED BULL RING IN SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA!
Temperature: 16.9 ℃
Air Pressure: 936 mbar
Wind Speed/Direction: SW/2kts
Friday is Training Day – both the Master class and Challenger class will be taking to the track to perfect their racing lines ahead of Qualifying tomorrow.
Avgeeks, take note: The Spielberg track includes a 61m elevation from one end to another – this is important, because it means that on the return leg of each pilots' run in the track, they are essentially going downhill and will pick up speed. This is where a race can be won, lost or recovered if the pilots have the straight-line speed.
Training kicks off soon, so and it's Britain's Bonhomme who currently leads the Red Bull Air Race World Championship standings. At the lat race in Ascot, he celebrated his third win of the season, widening the margin between his current first place and second place Matt Hall. Just 8 points stand between the Brit and the Aussie as they head into the sixth race of 2015.
And the Master Training session is set to kick off shortly with Le Vot first out in the track!
Current conditions at the Start Gate:
Temperature: 17.3 ˚C
Air Pressure: 935.5 mbar
Wind Speed/Direction: 3kts/SW-W
Start List for Masters Training:
1. Le Vot (FRA)
2. Velarde (ESP)
3. Chambliss (USA)
4. Besenyei (HUN)
5. Goulian (USA)
6. Ivanoff (FRA)
7. Muroya (JPN)
8. Dolderer (GER)
9. McLeod (CAN)
10. Lamb (GBR)
11. Sonka (CZE)
12. Arch (AUT)
13. Hall (AUS)
14. Bonhomme (GBR)
And Le Vot is in the track to kick start the Masters' Training session!
The buzzer sounds early for the Frenchman as he passes through Gate 3 too high, picking up a penalty. He's been struggling with that Edge 540 all season and it still seems a little choppy. Another turn in the track is cleaner and smoother, despite a slow start speed through those first Air Gates. But Gate 7 catches Le Vot out this time around and it's another penalty.
Le Vot 1:04.052
Spain's Juan Velarde now taking his cue as he passes through the Start Gate at 195.55kts. Another early buzzer and +2sec at Gate 2, and again at Gate 4! This is not going to plan for the Spaniard. There's still plenty of time left for another run....
The wind speed has dropped slightly out there and Velarde has got through those early gates cleanly. He's much more on the pace and clocks in almost three seconds ahead of Le Vot.
Next up it's Kirby Chambliss from the USA. A first clean run means that maybe Chambliss has really been doing his homework, and he's already sub 1-minute with 58.140. He's almost on the mark with his second run's entry into the Start Gate at 198.80kts and it's green and clean in those split times.
insufficient smoke automatically adds a second onto Besenyei's time and he's really slow through that Start Gate, just 189.58kts. Something doesn't look right here, he seems distracted in the first run. He heads into his second run in the track and there's clearly an issue with the smoke – that'll need looking at ahead of the next Training session before Qualifying.
Chambliss currently setting the benchmark. Up next is fellow American Mike Goulian in today's Masters Training session.
Let's see if today will bring Mikey G some birthday goodies! Happy birthday, Mr G!
He's in the track and looking slower through the Start Gate but he's flying cleanly. His split times are in the red until the last gates when the splits go green – he's clearly picking up time in the downward elevation heading into the Finish Gate.
And it's a second clean run for Goulian but he can't quite match the pace of his first run. Regardless, he takes the top spot on the current timings with that first run, pushing Chambliss into second.
Ivanoff already into the track and he's looking cautious with split times in the red from the off. The split times are increasing and he just scrapes through over the 1-minute mark. He comes around again for a second run in the track and this time around, he seems to have got his head together. The split time is green in the first few gates but he's losing momentum... still a faster run this time, and he's shaved some time off to go sub 1-minute, placing him currently in 3rd.
Japan's Yoshi Muroya up next. Yoshi celebrated podium success at the last race in Ascot last month. His team have been working on his plane all season and it seems that they're really getting there with the fine tuning.
Muroya right on the money with his Start Speed and it's aggressive flying we're seeing from the Japanese pilot. Seems that his Ascot success has bolstered his confidence out there. Green splits all the way, penalty free and looking great. Muroya's second run is slower from the Start Gate, but he's steaming his way through those Air Gates before losing momentum in the last half of the track. But he's still on point, knocking Goulian off the top.
We've reached the halfway point for the first Training session, and Muroya, Goulian and Chambliss are currently occupying the top three slots in the timesheets. Next up, it's Germany's Dolderer.
Dolderer looking unsteady as he picks up a penalty immediately at the Start Gate despite a storming start at 199.75kts. That's put his split times in the red and he's around +2 off Muroya's pace. Scrub that penalty and he could be at the top of the table right now! Another run could change things up...
200kts through the Start Gate and Dolderer is back on form. It's all looking good until Gate 8... he's lost time and rhythm out there and it's cost the German three places on the current timesheets.
McLeod into the track. The Canadian has been picking up penalties and pylon hits this season and he needs to get some clean flights in. But all too soon Gate 4 is causing issues as McLeod picks up +2sec and only just clocks in under 1-minute. His second run kicks off slower and it's another penalty for exceeding the start speed limit at 201kts. It's all a learning curve out there and McLeod will just be putting in the time to get those racing lines sorted now.
Lamb clearly unhappy with that first run, exceeding the start speed limit and two penalties for incorrect level flying. It's a DNF as he scratches the first attempt and heads in for a second attack on the racetrack... it's a much cleaner run from the British pilot but the pace just isn't there right now. Still time to analyse and reassess ahead of the next Training session though. Lamb currently in 7th place in Training 1.
Muroya still setting the benchmark today with 57.239 with Sonka, Arch, Hall and Bonhomme still to fly. Sonka up next.
Sonka just shy of Muroya's leading pace out there, and Gate 5 proves to be another obstacle as the Czech pilot picks up a penalty for incorrect level flying. His second run remains off pace and this time it's that tricky second Gate that trips Sonka up. it seems to have put him well off his racing lines as the buzzer goes at Gate 4, 5 and 10! That's 8 seconds of penalties in his second run! He's got good speed, just needs to tidy it up.
Local hero Hannes Arch next into the track.
A reasonable start for Arch, and he's teasing us as the split times go green, red and back to green. Swift, clean and calculated, he's already shaved 0.104s off Muroya's best time so far today.
Arch now seeing if he can better his own time. Remember, he's got to send a message out to Hall and Bonhomme... but his first run remains his fastest of this Training session. Let's see how Hall and Bonhomme respond.