Home boy Hannes Arch kept his hopes of winning the 2014 Red Bull Air Race alive today, with the Austrian taking victory in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring by almost a second, with championship leader Nigel Lamb only coming fourth.
Arch took his third qualifying win of the season with a record time of 55.545 seconds in his Edge 540, with Matthias Dolderer of Germany finishing second with a 56.509s. In third was Czech Martin Sonka. For Lamb, who only needs to finish second to clinch the title, it was a disappointing day, with the Brit finishing behind Arch in all of the days sessions in his Breitling-sponsored MXS-R.
The only penalty of the session was given to Pete McLeod, with the Canadian incorrectly passing an air gate on his way to eleventh place.
The first pairing in tomorrow’s Top 12 session will be Yoshihide Muroya of Japan against Paul Bonhomme, with Kirby Chambliss and Matt Hall the next pairing to fly. Of the two title rivals, Lamb will be against Michael Goulian, whilst Arch will be flying against Peter Besenyei of Hungary.
“We know exactly where we get the time out of the track,” said Arch, who needs to win with Lamb third or lower to win the title. “After I heard my first time I just went to my limits and flew on the edge and basically it worked out fine.
“We’re using the same setup we’ve used all year but I really prepared hard in the simulator and we really got into the details of this track. For me it feels good; I am really confident. But I also know Paul and Nigel will study the lines and they will be fast tomorrow. I just want to race here and enjoy it, and right now that’s working for me.”
Lamb, who has only won one race so far this season in Putrajaya, reacted to fourth, saying: “I’m obviously very, very disappointed. I didn’t think I flew that badly but three other guys flew better than me so what can I say?
“Hopefully we’ll be able to find some errors tonight. Hannes’ time was pretty stunning. Maybe he was on half throttle for the rest of the week, I don’t know, but maybe he just feels at home up in the trees and the Alps. I’m very comfortable too, but he’s just flying better so hopefully tomorrow we can reverse that.”
Tomorrow’s Top 12 race is scheduled to start at 1350 Local Time, with the final Top 4 race of the season starting at 1540 Local.
Red Bull Air Race Qualifying Results, Red Bull Ring 2014
|Hannes Arch (AUT)||Edge 540||55.545|
|Matthias Dolderer (GER)||Edge 540||56.509|
|Martin Sonka (CZE)||Edge 540||56.876|
|Nigel Lamb (GBR)||MXS-R||56.996|
|Matt Hall (AUS)||MXS||56.996|
|Paul Bonhomme (GBR)||Edge 540||57.270|
|Yoshihide Muroya (JPN)||Edge 540||57.447|
|Kirby Chambliss (USA)||Edge 540||57.642|
|Michael Goulian (USA)||Edge 540||57.660|