The first of “Round of 14” of the Red Bull Air Race World Championships 2016 in Abu Dhabi had a number of hidden surprises. Whilst Martin Sonka (CZE) and the World Champion of 2014, Nigel Lamb (GB) did not survive the first round due to difficult mistakes, the Frenchman Francois Le Vot was able to gain points with a faultless run as “Fastest Loser”. The Austrian Hannes Arch made it really exciting. In a direct duel with Juan Velarde (ESP), it looked like a calculated lead for the Styrian up until shortly before the end of his run due to the incorrect passing of Air Gate 13, two penalty seconds were given and the Spaniard with anmextremely small margin of a seventh hundred of a second took over the lead. The top favourite in the fight for the WM title had less luck.
In the “Round of 8” Hannes Arch met with US American Michael Goulian. The Styrian kept a cool head, and with a faultless flight, laid down a good time. Goulian gave his best, remained without penalty, but could not break the time of Hannes Arch.
For his final debut Le Vot had the exercise in Abu Dhabi to lay down a top time, the Frenchman had however to pocket a two second penalty. Hannes Arch went in as second into the race, but was not rewarded for his full commitment. The Styrian passed over the safety line, was disqualified and ended his racing day outside the point scala. Matthias Dolderer and Nicolas Ivanoff then gave a thrilling battle for the win which the Frenchman very closely won.
Focus for Hannes Arch fully concentrated on Spielberg. The Austrian Hannes Arch did not leave a good track in Abu Dhabi, but took it with good humor “I must just grin a little, because I had reservations right from the beginning about the course. Today I kept to the G-craft- limit. When you do not pull, then you turn to the crowd line over which I then flew. Therefore something was not quite right with the track. Congratulations to Nicolas, Matthias and Francois, who all made well of the situation. My focus is now fully on Spielberg, where I would naturally like to fly on the podium at home and I would like to tell my fans that I will give my best!”
All information of this home race with Hannes Arch in Spielberg (23/24th April) and tickets at www.redbullairrace.com/de_AT/event/spielberg-2016.