Nicolas Ivanoff has won a sensational last round of the Red Bull Air Race in Austria, but it’s Britain’s Nigel Lamb who will be celebrating into the night after winning his first Red Bull Air Race Championship.
The day’s competition started with an upset for two of the favourites, with both Matt Hall and second fastest qualifier Matthias Dolderer failing to progress from the Top 12 match ups, with the German incurring a two second time penalty for incorrectly passing an air gate.
For eventual winner Ivanoff it was touch and go as to whether he too would progress to the Super 8, with the Frenchman going through courtesy of being one of two fastest losers.
In the Super 8 round it was the turn of championship contender Paul Bonhomme to drop out, with Lamb only just making it through by four hundredths of a second over his compatriot. Also dropping out in the Super 8 were Michael Goulian, Kirby Chambliss and Pete McLeod, leaving the thee Edge 540s of Ivanoff, Hannes Arch and Martin Sonka and the lone MXS-R of Lamb in the Final 4.
The Final 4 then threw up some surprises of its own, with both Sonka and Arch each acquiring two second penalties, both of which were for incorrect level flying through the airgates. That left them with times of 59.704 and 59.839 respectively, ruling out Arch’s chance of claiming the title. That then left Lamb and Ivanoff to fight for the win in Spielberg, with Ivanoff throwing down his best laps of the weekend to take victory with a time of 57.468, with Lamb coming home half-a-second slower.
However, despite his two second penalty, Arch’s actual time of 57.839 would have left him second, which still wouldn’t have been enough to catch Lamb. In the end though the standings are as followed, with Lamb beating Arch 62-53, with Bonhomme a further two points behind in third.
“I’m pleased with the victory and the way the season went,” said Ivanoff. “We tried to make the plane faster with some modifications before this race but they didn’t work. So we removed them in the last few days. Obviously it worked so I’m quite happy.”
“It’s just amazing,” said a speechless Lamb. “I feel very lucky because I didn’t think that my time was even good enough to get on the podium. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s a great day. It’s an indescribable feeling.”
For Arch, who was performing in front of a 45,000 strong home audience, things were less satisfying. “I wanted to be first and I tried to do everything to get that. On the last run I might have tried a little too hard,” said the Austrian before walking off in frustration.
With the 2014 action now over attentions now turn to the 2015 season, with the championship schedule due to be announced soon.
Final 4 Result, Austria 2014
Final Standings, 2014 Red Bull Air Race