May 11


Hannes Arch (1st) takes away a maximum 13 points after his win in Qualifying also gave the Austrian an overall win due to the cancelled race. It was a game of serious race strategy for Arch here in Rio and he says it has paid off. “We did all our tactics that we said we’d focus on in Qualifying because we knew it could be Race day. We also treated the training sessions like that so we’ve always been one day ahead of the game. That was the right tactic for this situation.”

When asked whether winning in this way felt like a hollow victory, Arch was adamant the win was legitimate. “It feels like a victory and we can always have bad weather situations,” he said. “It was fair for everybody so why shouldn’t I deserve the points? It was a legal race. I had prepared myself mentally to race today with full motivation, hoping that the weather wouldn’t be bad. I was keeping it open for both options. It’s not easy mentally to just wait here, being in the lead and seeing what is happening. Then it gets delayed and delayed but that’s racing.” Arch now moves to within a single championship point of Lamb and there are only 4 points separating him and defending champion Bonhomme.

Nigel Lamb (2nd) took his second podium of the 2010 season, moving ahead of fellow Brit Bonhomme after playing it right in Qualifying and going all out to put in a good time. Adding 10 championship points to his overall total, Lamb is now just 3 points behind Bonhomme. Strong performances so far this season have seen the MXS-R pilot start to shine but missing out on today’s flying was frustrating for Lamb, who said: “Of course it’s a really good result but it’s an anti-climax. It’s not really just about the points for me. It’s about the competition and I was very disappointed not to win the second Qualifying yesterday and I had a different strategy today. It was going to be a tough day out there and we’d decided we’d just go for it. It’s a shame we weren’t able to do that but going away with 10 points is fantastic.”

Paul Bonhomme (3rd) was undeniably miffed at having to rely on his sub-par Qualifying run for the overall result in Rio. He was left in third place based on yesterday’s times, behind both Lamb and Arch who are snapping away at his heels. Still hanging on at the top of the championship standings with 31 points, Bonhomme was showing definite signs of irritation at the Race Airport after the news broke about the cancelled race. “We’d been wondering about our engine set-up and also the lines in the track,” explained Bonhomme casually yesterday, not knowing that this would be two third place finishes in a row for him. Today he was less relaxed and abruptly said: “It’s only a loss of 4 net points. It’s a long season.”

Matt Hall (4th) was happy on reflection that the right call had been made to cancel the flying, even if it meant he missed out on a podium in Rio. Having experimented in the track further in Qualifying, Hall may have played the wrong tactic. “I was sitting in the gridstand when they postponed it, thinking I would be happy with fourth. But once it was cancelled for the day I was disappointed. It shows me how much I love racing,” he said, now sitting comfortably in 4th overall with 22 points. “I was confident of a great result but I know it was the right decision by the Race Directors to cancel the race because it wouldn’t have been safe. On the positive side a fourth place is the third best result of my race career and a good building block for the rest of the season. It was the first race for us with Jack Moshovis as technician and he did a great job. We are on the right track.”

Kirby Chambliss (5th) was safe with his Qualifying result and picked up his biggest points haul this season, with 7 added in Rio to take him to 6th place overall “We always want to try to win,” said Chambliss, knowing that things could have ended up quite differently if the flying had resumed. “Did I have a shot? I would’ve had to hope for a lot of guys to really hose it up for us to move up. We’ll hope for that new engine in Windsor and to turn this thing around. There’s a good possibility the conditions would have made a difference. If we’d have run the Top 12, Peter had laid down a great time in perfect conditions and the rest of us would have gone out there in total chaos. All you can do then is damage control and try to get the best time out of it you can.”

Nicolas Ivanoff (6th) adds a further 6 points to his championship total and remains in the top half of the table after three races. The French pilot, who altered his exhaust set-up for Rio, hadn’t quite sussed the track by Qualifying but would have potentially improved upon his 1:23:42 time if he had found the right line today. “I was having trouble with the race lines and I just didn’t know why I was slower,” said Ivanoff. “It’s really hard to say what is the best way. I needed to find different lines on some of the turns and it was a problem for all of us really. I saw Paul Bonhomme was really fast on the straight line just before the vertical turn. The plane was more or less good but I just didn’t know why I wasn’t faster.”

Pete McLeod (7th) was unable to stake his claim on the Super 8 in Rio and didn’t even leave the Race Airport today. With a goal of building on his success so far this season, the Canadian had to take the 5 points available for his 7th place Qualifying result. “It wasn’t what I was looking for and we would have liked to get back in the track today,” said McLeod, who could at least see something positive following the frustration of not racing. “We now have a total of 19 championship points and hold onto the 5th overall spot.”

Michael Goulian (8th) didn’t even get off the gridstand as he was the next pilot to fly as the rain caused officials to postpone the race. It was an anti-climax for the whole team, who had installed a new engine in time for Rio but hadn’t really reaped the rewards prior to race day. Goulian’s status on facebook read: ‘What a bummer! We were looking forward to a race here in Rio. Depressing having to deal with Quali points instead of trying to win. I guess that’s racing. On to Windsor!’ He still picks up 4 points and sits in 8th place overall.

Alejandro Maclean (9th) was the real casualty in today’s weather debacle. After struggling all week to post a fast time, the Spanish pilot performed well in the Top 12 and was in fact the last to fly today. He was understandably frustrated and his 1:23:36 – which included 2 seconds of penalties – could have moved him to the Super 8 round. “I guess it’s the right decision,” said Maclean, soon after arriving back at the Race Airport to hear the bad news. “My flight was 3-4 knots more wind. Not heavy rain but drizzle, that interferes with the wings and reduces the G limit of the plane. I didn’t seem to be feeling anything strange with my plane. It was fine but it’s probably the right decision.” He takes home his first points of the season, a total of 3 putting him in 12th place overall.

Matthias Dolderer (10th) added only 2 points here in Rio to his championship total, now standing at 12. “I expected a better result for the race in Rio,” he said after falling apart in the Top 12 run where he only managed a 1:30. “In compensation training I had a really good time and was confident I could reach a top 6 placement. It didn’t work out. Regarding the world championship standing it was a setback for us. Well, now we’ve to catch up in Windsor.” With plans already afoot to improve power in the Team 21 hangar, the ambitious German isn’t wasting any time this season with technical development and should take delivery of a new Edge in the coming months.

Peter Besenyei (11th) had to settle for a single championship point in Rio, despite flying a solid run in his Top 12 flight before the race was abandoned. “I was happy with my flight and it was clean with no penalties,” said Besenyei, after posting a promising 1:21:94, which could have taken him into the Super 8. “That was my best time of the week. Yesterday I had all the same times but also penalties which pushed me to the bottom. Yesterday the penalty was just for one gate which was not level but it was a tiny mistake. I wasn’t happy with the decision at all.”

Yoshi Muroya (12th) made it through the Wild Card to fly in the start of the Top 12 round before it was called off. He believed a DQ given for a descending knife-edge in the 270 turn was unfair. “On the first lap I got the DQ for something and that was it for us,” said the Japanese pilot who was getting more power from his engine today following a late night overhaul after Qualifying. “I don’t think that turn was dangerous at all. The aircraft was stable and there wasn’t any problem at all. I am pretty sure it was a misjudgement and if you can’t fly the turn like that, then you can’t do anything. But for the next race I will fly as clean as possible.”

Martin Sonka (13th) was the first pilot out in the Wild Card today but wouldn’t have made it through to the Top 12 – which had been his goal for today. “I had a little problem with the engine setting while I was diving into the track and that’s the reason I had a slow entry speed,” he said, admitting that this defeat was more disappointing than in previous races. “I adjusted it to try to increase the rpm while I was in the hold but as I came down into the first gate, the rpm was too high so I had to change it. That was the reason I slowed down there and I didn’t manage to accelerate enough into the first gate. I wanted to be much faster at the start. Maybe that cost me some time and then I got 2 seconds in penalties. I’m not really happy but otherwise without the penalty I would have been faster than yesterday and that’s important for me.”

Sergey Rakhmanin (14th) changed his strategy in his Wild Card flight but came unstuck when he hit a pylon and picked up multiple penalties. “Today I think all the pilots would have been faster than yesterday because the temperatures are colder,” said the Russian pilot, who had flown a less forgiving line in the track. “I had a plan for this track after analysing my results yesterday. I realised I could gain time only if I risked more. I did this today and unfortunately it was not successful. On the straight lines we were almost last and I had to try this but it is a risk. I increased the angle and there wasn’t enough space. I am very disappointed with my result.”

Comments are closed.