Still 4th in the championship after San Diego

Posted on: 12th May 2009

So, 4th place overall after 2 races... still our best start ever. It’s not too bad but certainly not where we want to be. The gap is 9 points and that’s going to be hard to make up. Still, this is going to be an interesting season and points won’t be so easy to come by. There are plenty of podium capable teams so I think there’ll be a lot of mixing in the next few races. Given that there’s a lot of work going on between San Diego and the Canada race, I think Canada will be even more competitive. Hux has already ferried the Breitling MXS over to Dayton. He went with Brad Huelsman from Team Goulian, and apparently enjoyed very strong tailwinds... something like 1,800 NM in 24 hours; with some sleep in between! Hux spent the next day checking the engine. We’re not alone in thinking our new Lycon engine is not delivering the power it should. The fuel flow has always seemed a bit too low so we have to get to the bottom of it before the next race. This is not a case of trying to find an excuse; it’s a matter of priorities. We need to focus on the basics before we think about further aerodynamic modifications and any change to our tactics. So, 6 points in San Diego is not to be sneezed at but this is not what we aimed for. What went wrong? For sure, my training strategy was not great. It would not have been too bad if we’d not lost T3 and T4 due to weather / Air Traffic problems but it left me with a hard task in Qualifying. In the end, Qualifying went well enough but I think I’d have been better off had I found the ideal racing line earlier in Training. Lesson learned. What of the others? The top three are looking pretty strong. Nicolas Ivanoff flew well all week and his was a very popular win. Paul Bonhomme’s second second will undoubtedly be a disappointment for him but championships are not necessarily won by winning every race. Hannes Arch was very unlucky to have a bird-strike in the final which blew his rhythm out of Gate 10, and it looked like there was no way he was going to make Gate 11. Peter Besenyei made a surprising come-back in San Diego, clearly he is getting used to the MXS and it also looks like his engine is pulling well. The middle sector seems to be defined by whoever flies penalty free runs and the same goes for those presently near the bottom. I have a feeling that Kirby Chambliss will be focused on his engine right now and will come out strong for the next race. Mike Goulian had a very disappointing race. With no penalties, he would have won the Wildcard and could have made the Super 8. He’ll be gutted right now. Speaking of penalties, we really do need a better system whereby the not-so-obvious penalties are justified to the pilot. They use a high speed camera so, with the stakes as high as they are now, they ought to show the penalties clearly. It’s frustrating to see inconclusive evidence or none at all on the cockpit video and slide many places with a 2 second penalty. It’s time for the Breitling Team to be on the podium again. Our target is the top spot so there’s plenty to do before Canada.