Back on Track in Dallas Fort Worth

Posted on: 29th Sep 2015

It was an action packed weekend at the penultimate round of the Red Bull Air Race 2015 season, in Dallas, Fort Worth. Current Red Bull Air Race World Champion Nigel Lamb smashed the previous track record by over one second in the Round of 14 on Race Day.  Challenger Cup pilot Mika Brageot became the first competitor in the competition to claim a repeat win at the same destination. With over 30,000 spectators at the famous Texas Motor Speedway, the Breitling Racing Team pilots most definitely made their mark in the high-speed, low-altitude sport, hitting speeds of up to 230mph.


Fort Worth, USA: The first of two American Red Bull Air Race 2015 races was a scorcher, with temperatures well over 30 degrees providing demanding conditions for both pilot and aircraft. Following a far from ideal Qualifying round for both Nigel Lamb and François Le Vot, once assessing lines and working on vertical turns the Breitling Racing Team pilots provided their best on Race Day. To add to the success, Challenger Cup pilot Mika Brageot made history in the newest element of Red Bull Air Race, becoming the first pilot to win at the same track twice in that class. Following his win in Spielberg at the Red Bull Ring Brageot is building a legacy of excellence at motorsport venues, boding well for the final race of the season to be held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Brageot stated “I’m really comfortable in the races over land where you have marks on the ground and other reference points to target in lining up for the Air Gates. I’m feeling really great heading toward Las Vegas, but it’ll be a clean slate and the winner there will be the champion. The most important thing now is not to get over-confident.”


The 2015 season has been misfortunate for Nigel Lamb, but the pilot was positive heading into the Fort Worth race and keen to leave the USA with a podium. A frustrating Qualifying round left the Breitling Racing Team pilot in 11th going into the Round of 14 and against familiar competitor Matt Hall. It was a battle of the winglets, and this time Lamb came out on top, putting in a record-breaking 54.620, smashing previous track records by over one second. Lamb commented “I felt good in the warm ups and was aiming for the 55s, but that time was 3s faster than any other posted this week!”. However, luck did not continue to be on the pilot’s side in the Round of 8 against Czech pilot Martin Šonka, where all that was required was a clean flight. Lamb put in a fantastic round, but unfortunately picking up a +2s penalty for incorrect level flying at the Finish Gate left him with a time of 1:00.003 and wasn’t quick enough to proceed to the Final 4. Fort Worth was a roller coaster for the Brit and he stated “Following the Round of 14 I was finally getting into the right space and gaining some self belief again having worked on the elevator control all year, so that was a big mistake”.


Breitling Racing Team’s French Master Class pilot François Le Vot’s main concern heading into the Fort Worth race was the effect of the elements on his aircraft, the high temperatures had the potential to reap havoc with the engine’s already excessive temperatures of the Edge 540 V2. During Training and Qualifying Gate 8 was proving a test for Le Vot in an otherwise great round of fast flying, and he went into the Round of 14 feeling positive, especially considering his previous form at the location. However, the Frenchman admitted that the conditions are very different in the Master Class in comparison to the Challenger Cup in which he successfully competed in last year. The pilot posted a time of 1:02.940 with a +3s penalty for a pylon hit at the troublesome Finish Gate, unfortunately not qualifying into the Round of 8. He reflected on his first season as a Master Class pilot, “I’m still struggling a little bit to find the right pace; the last race in Spielberg killed the confidence I had been building up since Chiba, and I have to restart building it back up. I feel that for now I have to be as conservative as I can to regain confidence; I’m perfectly aware that this state of mind cannot lead me to super results in terms of timing. I’m just waiting to get back the skills I believe I have to push the limits”.


The Breitling Racing Team pilots will now head West across the North American continent to Las Vegas for the final Red Bull Air Race of the 2015 season, where the high temperatures will continue to feature in the World’s fastest motor sport in what promises to be an action packed finale.


Results Fort Worth, Texas: 1. Paul Bonhomme (GBR), 2. Matt Hall (AUS), 3. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) , 4. Martin Sonka (CZE), 5. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 6. Nigel Lamb (GBR), 7. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 8. Pete McLeod (CAN), 9. Michael Goulian (USA), 10. Hannes Arch (AUT), 11. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 12. Peter Besenyei (HUN), 13. Juan Velarde (ESP), 14. Francois Le Vot (FRA)??World Championship Standings: 1. Bonhomme 67 points, 2. Hall 59, 3. Arch 30, 4. Sonka 28, 5. Lamb 20, 6. McLeod 19, 7. Dolderer 19, 8. Muroya 18, 9. Ivanoff 13, 10. Goulian 10, 11. Chamblis 9, 12. Besenyei 8, Velarde 0, Le Vot 0.