Even with two pilots not being able to compete today—Peter Besenyei for damaging his MXS and Yoshi Muroya as a precaution—the day's events at the Red Bull Air Race in Windsor were not boring.
With Kirby Chambliss setting the pace in the final practice on Friday, it looked like the American had put himself into contention for the title one year after taking his first win in two seasons in the same locale, except it was on the other side of the Detroit River.
He did not disappoint. After being about 0.22 of a second slower than Briton Paul Bonhomme in the first qualifying round, the American came back in the second round for the final flight of the day and was a stunning 1.25 seconds faster than Bonhomme!
After being told of setting the fastest time, Chambliss responded, "I'll take that point!" And indeed, with one championship point won, the American has broken Hannes Arch's dominance in that area.
In the rest of the field, Matt Hall continues to impress his fellow pilots after setting not one, but two clean times in his MXS. The former RAAF pilot has been under the guidance of former Mike Mangold technician Dennis Sawyer and so far has been very disciplined. Hall qualified fourth today after posting a pretty fast time of 1:10.33.
Defending world champion Hannes Arch made a rare mistake in the second session of qualifying, and uttered "firetruck" while missing a couple of middle letters! The Austrian's time in the first qualifier stood and he qualified fifth behind Hall.
Michael Goulian has finally made it into the top 10 after a dismal first two races. He qualified eighth overall. But in his second run, after pulling a reasonably quick time to make it into the top five, he pipped the start/finish gate and tacked six seconds onto to his time.
Further down the field, the Canadian Pete McLeod has been getting a lot of hometown support. As he flew into the track, the crowds were cheering loudly after McLeod flew a slow first round in qualifying. The cheers became deafening when McLeod came in the second round and made it into alien territory: a top 10 position!
With the race taking place on the border of two countries, the crowds on both sides of the Detroit River were satisfied—with an experienced American winning the qualifying session and a Canadian making it into the top 10.
Windsor Qualifying After Two Rounds
- Kirby Chambliss; USA (Edge 540) - 1:07.95
- Paul Bonhomme; GBR (Edge 540) - 1:09.21 (+1.26)
- Nicolas Ivanoff; FRA (Edge 540) - 1:09.50 (+1.55)
- Matt Hall; AUS (MXS) - 1:10.33 (+2.38)
- Hannes Arch; AUT (Edge 540) - 1:10.47 (+2.52)
- Nigel Lamb; GBR (MXS) - 1:10.80 (+2.85)
- Mike Mangold; USA (Edge 540) - 1:12.04 (+4.09)
- Michael Goulian; USA (Edge 540) - 1:12.06 (+4.11)
- Alejandro Maclean; ESP (MXS) - 1:12.07 (+4.12)
- Pete McLeod; CAN (Edge 540) - 1:13.24 (+5.29)
- Sergey Rakhmanin; RUS (MXS) - 1:14.15 (+6.20)
- Matthias Dolderer; GER (Edge 540) - 1:15.73 (+7.78)
- Glen Dell; RSA (Edge 540) - 1:16.69 (+8.74)
- Yoshi Muroya; JPN (Edge 540) - DNS
- Peter Besenyei; HUN (MXS) - DNS
Yoshi Muroya and Peter Besenyei did not compete because the former had hit a pylon and there were some issues with his aircraft while the latter had an emergency landing after his engine lost oil pressure. As a result, the competition for the wild card will consist only of Rakhmanin, Dolderer and Dell.
Stay tuned tomorrow as another play-by-play will take place right here on Bleacher Report.