The rain and low ceilings were also a problem, sending crews scurrying to get race airplanes into shelter instead of out on the course. Qualifying on July 17 was scrubbed, along with the final round. With the race limited to two rounds (pilots usually fly four heats including qualifying), the wind made a challenging feat of aviation even more so as racers struggled to maintain pinpoint precision through a course defined by inflatable gates floating on the Danube. There were many two-second penalties for gate errors.
Chambliss took home fourth-place points despite being tagged with the same penalty, as his competition was slower through the course.
“It wasn’t too bad, I was close to the podium and we’re always shooting for that first spot,” Chambliss said in comments published by Red Bull, acknowledging that Dolderer will be difficult to catch in the second half of the season. “Matthias yanked it out of there again and that’s really going to put him up there.”
Budapest marked the midpoint in the eight-race schedule, and increased Dolderer’s lead to 15.25 points over Austrian Hannes Arch in a series that typically awards 15 points to race winners, though the July 17 points were reduced by a quarter in keeping with series rules for events shortened by weather.
Chambliss is now close on the tail of Arch, less than a point behind, and 16 points behind Dolderer heading into the second half. Dolderer still has work to do before he can claim the championship; an early round exit could leave him with no points at all, allowing Arch and Chambliss to gain ground when the series heads next to Ascot, United Kingdom, Aug. 13 and 14. Then it is on to Germany in September, followed by the final two races of the season: Indianapolis and Las Vegas, both in October.