Lamb Predicts a Nailbiter in Gdynia

Posted on: 30th Nov -0001

GDYNIA (Poland) – With the 2014 Red Bull Air Race season moving into its critical midpoint phase in Gdynia, Poland this weekend, pilot Nigel Lamb is describing the layout of the track on the choppy waters of the Baltic Sea: “It’s quite a foxy track, I think – a very difficult track.” The trajectory traces a huge sweeping turn on one end that leads to a chicane set up in a relatively straight line before a high-G vertical turn. Lamb and his son, who analyzed the track to aid his dad’s preparation, describe the shape as “like a balloon hanging on a string.”


Lamb’s win at the previous stop in Putrajaya, Malaysia – his first in seven years of competition in the world’s fastest motorsport series – jumped him from eighth to third in the World Championship rankings, adding a new urgency to what had seemed to be a two-man battle for the 2014 title between Austria’s Hannes Arch and Britain’s Paul Bonhomme. With Lamb clearly in striking distance, and Canada’s Pete McLeod as well as Australia’s Matt Hall also hot on the hunt, whoever does the best job of navigating that virtual balloon on Sunday could create a serious shift in the momentum.


“The track is challenging in two ways,” Lamb explains. “One, there are an infinite number of ways of flying the radius on the balloon.” In a lineup of talent so fiercely competitive that hundredths of a second matter, precision and perfection are the name of the game, and each pilot will seek the most advantageous line – with only a precious few training runs to dial it in.


Lamb goes on, “And secondly, we’re going to have winds – the wind will have an absolutely massive effect on the race.” As the contenders are all well aware after an unprecedented number of penalties were incurred for grazing Air Gate pylons in windy Croatia last April, gusts can wreak havoc with even the best-planned lines.


“Because of the rules and how competitive it is this year, it’s increasingly difficult to win a race,” Lamb comments. “Given all the factors in play, it’s going to be up for grabs – for anybody. Anybody in the lineup here can be on the podium this weekend.”