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Hall takes AscotHall takes Ascot

Dolderer retains Red Bull championship lead

Michael Goulian made his first final four of the 2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship, but exceeding the G limit in the final run kept him off the podium in Ascot, Great Britain. Fellow American Kirby Chambliss remains in fourth place in the season standings, despite a tough week and an early exit.
Michael Goulian of the United States performs during the finals at the fifth stage of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Ascot, Great Britain on August 14. Photo by Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool

Germany’s Matthias Dolderer continued to pull away from the pack, despite coming up short in the final round to Australian Matt Hall, who clocked an impressive time (only a little slower than the course record Dolderer had just set in the previous round) to win the weekend of racing Aug. 14.

Goulian, who has struggled to find the speed on Sundays that he had hoped for this year, still posted his best result of the season. Goulian secured seven championship points with his fourth-place finish, more points than he had scored in the four previous races of the season combined.

In post-race comments posted by Red Bull, Goulian said the team’s goal was not to put any extra pressure on the pilot on race day, since he already does enough of that himself. His practice times have been competitive, Goulian said, but have slipped when it counts.

“So this week (the goal) was to make the practice turn into a race and fly the same time, which is what we did,” Goulian said.

Chambliss, meanwhile, finished ninth in the final standings following a first-round defeat.

Matt Hall of Australia prepares for his flight during the finals at the fifth stage of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Ascot, Great Britain. Photo by Samo Vidic/Red Bull Content Pool

“I felt like I flew really well–I flew my plan and I bettered my best time from this week by half a second,” Chambliss said. “We have to analyze everything to see if it was the way I was flying or something with the airplane, but we just don't know. It’s a big disappointment for us.”

Chambliss, Goulian, and the rest of the Master Class field are running short on time to catch Dolderer, who set a new course record in the Round of 14, then smashed it in the Round of 8, a 1:03.226 that would have been good enough to win had he been able to repeat it in the Final Four.

“We were really fast and dominated all week, but the last run didn’t really work out the way I wanted. I was flying a little bit more conservatively, but we flew well and now we’re really looking forward to Lausitzring,” Dolderer said in comments posted by Red Bull, referring to the next race on Sept. 3-4 in Germany, Dolderer’s home turf.

Australian Matt Hall flew a 1:03.426 in his Final Four effort, flying first of the four pilots who made it to that final round. Goulian followed with a DNF for exceeding the G limit, Austrian Hannes Arch was disqualified for a course deviation, and that left Dolderer with a clear shot to beat Hall. The German left a little daylight for the rest of the field hoping to beat him to the championship when he came up 1.461 seconds short.

That second-place finish left Dolderer with 53.25 championship points (15 are awarded to the race winner, with 12 for second place), more than a race’s worth ahead of Hannes Arch of Austria, who has 35 points with three races remaining. Hall climbed to third in the season standings with his Ascot win, giving him a total of 33.75 points to put him ahead of Chambliss, who has 27.25 points for the season. Goulian’s 13.75 points place him ninth among the 14 pilots.

Dolderer still needs to score points at home to maintain his separation from the pack and solidify his grasp on the 2016 championship, which concludes in October with races in Indianapolis and Las Vegas.

AOPA has teamed up with Red Bull to offer pilots special access during the Indianapolis event Oct. 1 and 2: AOPA members are invited to a special Saturday evening party (Oct. 1) at the world-famous Yard of Bricks. Click here for details and tickets to the party, and to purchase discounted race tickets online.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Editor-Web
Editor-Web Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
Topics: Air Racing

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