Sunday, 31 May 2015 20:00
Team Garmin's Pete McLeod found the speed in the Red Bull Air Race on Sunday and the Canadian was flying a brilliant run in the third stop of the season in Rovinj, Croatia. But a late penalty in his Round of Eight race against American Michael Goulian for a tiny infraction cost him dearly and dropped him to seventh place. It was a close call for incorrect level flying through one of the last Air Gates on the windswept course set up on the Adriatic Sea.
McLeod is nevertheless still in the hunt for the championship of the world's fastest motorsport series in seventh place with nine points but only 16 points behind the leaders with 12 points up for grabs for winning each race.
“Overall I’m a little bit disappointed that I didn’t get into the final run, but I had two great runs on race day,” said McLeod, after he lost to Goulian and got a penalty for incorrect level flying. “I flew the lines I wanted. They are aggressive lines. I’m out there flying on the limit. If you’re not on the limit you’re not fast. We’re all up on the limit. Get used to upsets throughout the season.”
After struggling in training and Qualifying this week, McLeod seemed to find his form on Sunday and upset red-hot Yoshihide Muroya of Japan in the Round of 14 with a fast time of 54.091 seconds. Muroya was second in Qualifying but was under pressure to perform after McLeod's quick time. Muroya hit a pylon in the round of 14 and the three-second penalty meant McLeod advanced instead.
The race was won by Hannes Arch of Austria, who bounced back in style after struggling in training this week and Qualifying on Saturday to win race by the closest margin ever and turn the eight-race world championship battle into a tight-three way fight at the top. Sonka got a career-best second place in the race, where pilots hit speeds of 370 km/h, on the difficult, windswept racecourse set up just off the shorelines of Rovinj.
Rovinj race results:1. Hannes Arch (AUT), 2. Martin Sonka (CZE), 3. Matt Hall (AUS), 4. Michael Goulian (USA), 5. Nigel Lamb (GBR), 6. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 7. Pete McLeod (CAN), 8. Paul Bonhomme (GBR), 9. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 10. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 11. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 12. Peter Besenyei (HUN), 13. Juan Velarde (ESP), 14. Francois Le Vot (FRA)
World Championship standings: 1. Bonhomme (25 points), 2. Hall (25), 3. Arch (17), 4. Lamb (12), 5. Dolderer (10), 6. Sonka (9), 7. McLeod (9), 8. Goulian (8), 9. Ivanoff (6), 10. Muroya (4), 11. Chambliss (2), 12. Besenyei (2), 13. Velarde (0), 14. Le Vot (0)