Four races in and four different pilots have stood on the top step of the podium this year in the Red Bull Air Race.
This was a weekend for the Americans. Michael Goulian clinched his first and long-awaited career win and in Budapest of all places. Kirby Chambliss won the qualifying round on Wednesday.
Championship contenders Paul Bonhomme and Hannes Arch fell to the wayside but it was ultimately the Briton who overcame the Austrian and now has the championship lead by a single point and with two more rounds in Porto and Barcelona, anything's bound to happen.
The summer break appeared to have improved a few pilots, but at the same time has hindered others.
Most notably absent from the podium was defending world-champion Hannes Arch. This is the first time that Arch has not made it onto the podium.
Other pilots whose performances went down were Peter Besenyei who only managed a 10th place in his MXS, Nigel Lamb with a ninth place finish, Alejandro Maclean with an 11th place finish and Sergey Rakhmanin who was a shoe-in for points, but was too slow in qualifying and disqualified in the Wild Card round for going 1 km/h over the maximum start speed of 370 km/h finishing 15th and last.
South African Glen Dell suffered the same fate as his Russian colleague, but was 10 km/h over the start speed. He finished 14th overall.
Another speeder was Nicolas Ivanoff of France who was clocked at 375 km/h entering the track during the Super Eight round. He finished in eighth overall - not the result envisaged for the resurgent Frenchman.
On the side of improvement was Matthias Dolderer who usually had a struggle getting out of the Wild Card or Top 12, but managed to make it into fifth place overall and just out of the Final Four and the chance to compete for the win.
The German qualified in fourth place one day earlier much to the delight of his fans.
Further down, Australian Matt Hall has slipped recently but is still the strongest rookie on the field. He was able to clinch a solid seventh place in the race while American Mike Mangold was not able to emulate his fourth-place performance in Windsor and was only good for sixth.
Yoshi Muroya of Japan and Pete McLeod of Canada were not able to get past the Wild Card as they ended up in 12th and 13th, respectively.
The final four consisted of Hannes Arch, Paul Bonhomme, Kirby Chambliss, and Michael Goulian.
Goulian was the first to go and put in a very respectable time of 1:12.51. This was good for at least a podium position, but there were three other pilots.
Bonhomme took his stab at the track, but was strangely slower than Goulian with a 1:13.13. Goulian was guaranteed a spot on the podium now, but the win?
Up next was Hannes Arch and was flying beautifully until he suffered an Incorrect Level Flying (ILF) penalty. Two seconds were added to his time and he finished with a 1:13.83.
The ILF penalty was a very slight deviation as Arch was exiting gate five to do his first vertical manoeuvre. Needless to say, the Austrian was quite puzzled with the result.
The last performance of the day went to the winner of qualifying, Kirby Chambliss. The other American put his best in it, but just couldn't manage as he was a little slow and finished with a 1:13.53 and a third place on the podium - the second time in a row that this has happened to him.
The final result of the race went:
- Michael Goulian (USA) - Edge 540
- Paul Bonhomme (GBR) - Edge 540
- Kirby Chambliss (USA) - Edge 540
- Hannes Arch (AUT) - Edge 540
- Matthias Dolderer (GER) - Edge 540
- Mike Mangold (USA) - Edge 540
- Matt Hall (AUS) - MXS
- Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) - Edge 540
- Nigel Lamb (GBR) - MXS
- Peter Besenyei (HUN) - MXS
- Alejandro Maclean (ESP) - MXS
- Yoshi Muroya (JPN) - Edge 540
- Pete McLeod (CAN) - Edge 540
- Glen Dell (RSA) - Edge 540
Sergey Rakhmanin (RUS) - MXS
With that, the current standings in the world championship are:
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!