We are done with all of the training for the first race here in Abu Dhabi and at the moment, the #99 Team is frustrated with our results.
The tweaking on the machine we did over the winter to make the plane really comfortable for me was a great success. I was immediately comfortable in the plane yesterday on my very first lap on the track. My flying so far this week has been perhaps the best and most consistent flying that I have done since becoming a Red Bull Air Race pilot. Honestly, I am not sure I can make a better line through this track.
However, the times are not showing anywhere near what we had hoped. We are very quick through the first part of the race but the plane seems to be slowing down a lot while under “G” so it is sapping our speed as we go along in the race. Team Technician, Tim Hess has tried everything to get more speed out of the plane but at this point, we think we are stuck where we are until we get back to the states.
Our theory is that some of the wing modifications we made over the winter are creating a lot of drag while I am pulling during the Quadro and the 1/2 Cuban turn around.
We will fly as hard as we can in qualifying and just see what happens. However, at this point, I think anything higher than 8th in Abu Dhabi will be a surprise.
Thanks for your support,