Sunday, 27 September 2015 22:47
FORT WORTH, Texas (USA) – Canada's Pete McLeod pushed Red Bull Air Race World Championship leader Paul Bonhomme to the limits in their Round of Eight showdown in Texas on Sunday but the Team Garmin ace got knocked out by a penalty while pushing for the win.
McLeod’s day started strong, qualifying 3rd leading into race day, and charging past American Michael Goulian in the opening Round of 14 on a scorching hot Texas afternoon. McLeod was full of confidence heating into the high-speed, low-altitude battle against Bonhomme -- even though the two-time world champion is the points leader this season and had three victories in the first six races. McLeod started off on a record setting first lap, but got hit with the penalty through the pull up gate on the 2nd lap for exceeding the 10g limit – for just a fraction of a second more than 0.6 of a second that is permitted by the rules.
"I was flying the track well and I as feeling good out there," said McLeod, who had high hopes going into the race after a superb qualifying round on Saturday. McLeod was third in Qualifying, just 0.037 seconds behind Germany's Matthias Dolderer on pole position.
"I was definitely going for the win, not just to put a time down," said McLeod of his hard-charging attempt to knock Bonhomme out of the race. "Unfortunately I was a couple of a hundredths of a second too long on the over-G. I don't look at this as a mistake – I would rather go out pushing hard and trying my best. It is what it is."
Team Garmin's Pete McLeod received a disqualification for exceeding the 10g limit on a tight turn midway through his Round of Eight battle against Britain's Paul Bonhomme that ruined the Canadian's race. But McLeod remains in the hunt for third place overall in the world championship standings going into the season finale in Las Vegas on October 18 -- the spot where he got the first and only win of his career a year ago.
Bonhomme went on to win the race, his fourth victory this season, in the Final Four, beating Australia's Matt Hall into second and Japan's Yoshihide Muroya into third.
McLeod, whose best result this season was third in the season opener in Abu Dhabi, is in sixth place overall with 19 points from seven races but could still move up as high as third overall with a victory in Las Vegas next month. The battle for third place also heated up on Sunday with Martin Sonka, who got fourth place in Fort Worth, moved to 28 points and within two points of Hannes Arch of Austria (30). Nigel Lamb of Britain (20),McLeod (19) and Dolderer of Germany (19) are all also in the chase for third place.
World Championship Standings: 1. Bonhomme 67 points, 2. Hall 59, 3. Arch 30, 4. Sonka 28, 5. Lamb 20, 6. McLeod 19, 7. Dolderer 19, 8. Muroya 18, 9. Ivanoff 13, 10. Goulian 10, 11. Chamblis 9, 12. Besenyei 8, Velarde 0, Le Vot 0.