In the hazy skies and extreme temperatures of Abu Dhabi, Pete McLeod captured a 5th place finish in the season opening race of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. With this finished, Pete earned 7 world championship points and is currently ranked 5th of 15 teams in the overall standings. This is the best finish for any Canadian in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
“I’m exhausted from battling multiple rounds today in this heat, but today has been a great day for me and my team. The setup on the plane was perfect today and I was able to put down 2 clean runs. 5th place is great, but what is better is that we could have made a podium finish,” said Pete following the race. “2010 is off to a good start, I can’t wait to be back in the track in Perth and build on this success. The top teams now have their eye on us.”
After qualifying in 13th spot, Pete was up against four other world class pilots in the wildcard round with only the two fastest planes advancing. Pete set the pace in the wildcard round and easily advanced to the Top 12.
McLeod’s smooth flying and well tuned aircraft was able to survive temperatures in excess of 45 degrees C as many other teams struggled with the blistering heat.
McLeod posted the second fastest net time of the day in the Top 8, 1:14.60, but 6 seconds of penalties cost the Canadian a chance to advance to the Final 4 by only seconds and ultimately prevented him from capturing his first podium.
Hannes Arch captured the first world championship point of the season by setting the pace in qualifying but was disqualified during later competition. 2009 World Champion Paul Bonhomme of Great Britain continued his reign from the 2009 season winning the first race of the 2010 season over follow countryman Nigel Lamb. Pete Besenyei of Hungary and Michael Goulian of the United States finished third and fourth respectively.
Full field race results are available by clicking on the results button.
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship moves on to Perth Australia for the second race of the season on April 17/18. Windsor, Ontario, Canada is the fourth and only Canadian stop with the race scheduled for the weekend of June 5/6.
The PMR team will travel back to Canada for a few days before departing for Australia in early April.