Things were looking promising for Michael Goulian and Team 99 during the training flights over the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary at the latest installment of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Fast lap times kept Goulian near the top of the unofficial leaderboard throughout the midweek practice sessions.
Qualification day saw many pilot’s strategies fall apart with an array of penalties incurred by the field of competitors. During his first run, Michael was called off the course at Gate 7 for an Over-G penalty. As a result, he would have to fly his second qualifying run conservatively to post a time in qualifying. Goulian “may have played it too safe” as result, posting a time that would put him up against Australia’s Matt Hall in the opening Round of 14 on race day.
Concerned with the threat of an Over-G; the penalty that cut short his hopes of a podium finish in Croatia, Goulian and team tactician Steve Hall altered their strategy for race day. The new race line was safe though slower. It was not enough to overtake Matt Hall who turned out the day’s fastest lap time.
“I was not really satisfied with my flying in Sunday’s race. My lap times were good earlier in the week and kept me in the Top 5. I didn’t fly the airplane as fast as I could have’ we changed our line on race day and probably played it a little too easy; trying not to get an Over-G which slowed us down a bit. I’m very happy with the team and the steps that we’re making. We are learning every time and with all the improvements that we have seen to this point I’m sure we’ll be faster and faster in the long term and that’s what it’s all about.”
Goulian remains in 8th place overall in the season long standings. The next race will take place at the famed Ascot Racetrack in the United Kingdom on August 15 and 16.