Michael Goulian and Team 99 pushed hard in today’s qualifying rounds and will fly against the speedy Canadian in the Round of 14 tomorrow at the Red Bull Air Race in Germany. Goulian’s time of 51.15 seconds landed him in 8th spot in qualifying.
The race course at the Eurospeedway is highly technical with trappings of penalties lurking around each turn. Pilots were plagued throughout earlier practice sessions with 2 second penalties for improper gate passage, with several falling victim to the onerous and disqualifying over-G. Each team would fight though qualifying to find a balance between conservation and aggression; pushing their aircraft and their ability to the limits while remaining within the confines of regulation. Navigating that balance is the private competition waged within each pilot; knowing when to push and being able to recognize the boundaries of performance, all at 200mph and 50 feet above the ground. Any penalty is enough to move even the quickest pilot to the bottom of the time sheet.
For Team Goulian, a clean run was paramount. A practice flight earlier in the week was the fastest recorded across the field of competition, but was docked 2 seconds for a gate infraction. An over-G penalty during the last practice flight ahead of qualifying Saturday underscored the need for a conservative, penalty free flight during qualifying.
Goulian said, “Today was an interesting day of racing. I went out there to try and win the qualifying round but I just couldn’t keep the pace I had yesterday. After reviewing our racing data, I know where the time can be made up so now it’s an all out flight against Pete McLeod tomorrow. It should be an awesome and exciting race.”
The Round of 14 will launch at 8am EDT Sunday, September 17th. Fans in the United States can follow the live ticker feed on redbullairrace.com/live or watch a rebroadcast Sunday night at 11:30pm on NBC Sports. Please check your local listings for channel information.