McLeod to race in Russia for the first time this weekend
Since joining the Red Bull Air Race in 2009, Canadian pilot Pete McLeod has competed all over the world – but never before in Russia. That will change this weekend when the first Russian race in the history of the sport takes off in Kazan.
Set 800 kilometers to the east of Moscow, Kazan is Russia’s sporting capital, and its striking Kremlin is a World Heritage Site. The city, which today is home to more than a million people, was long known as a gateway to the wilderness of Siberia – which may make it the perfect location for McLeod, who feels so comfortable in the backcountry of Canada.
“This is not just my first race in Russia – it’s my first time in Russia,” says the Ontario native. “I always look forward to the races to get back in the track, but for sure it will also be interesting to race in a new location. It’s been awhile since I’ve raced in a fresh location, so that will be exciting!”
And then, of course, there’s the fact that the action in Kazan will kick off the second half of the World Championship’s eight-race calendar. Three weeks ago, McLeod captured his second podium of the season with a second-place finish at the stop in Budapest, and he’s currently third in the overall standings. While he’s pleased, McLeod is also pragmatic:
“It’s always a better mood to be coming off a race like Budapest, but it really doesn’t change much. In reality, I’ve executed the last three races with the same strategy as Budapest, but the ‘luck’ factor of conditions, judging, and format finally went in my favor,” McLeod comments.
“Nothing can be guaranteed in Kazan, other than that the program for my flying and team operations stays the same – getting better one race at a time and focus on the long game.”
Pete McLeod’s Red Bull Air Race debut in Kazan will take off with Qualifying on Saturday, 22 July, followed by Race Day on Sunday, 23 July 2017.
About Red Bull Air Race:
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship celebrated its landmark 75th race at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 370kmh while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship.