A different kind of competitor came to play today in over the Kazanka River: an ever-changing breeze. 14 Master Class pilots battled incredibly varying and unpredictable wind conditions in Kazan’s Qualifying session racetrack, constantly swapping directions from north to west almost instantly.

Track conditions always play a key role in race results, and today’s inconsistent wind direction was no exception. “You need a lot of luck in this track. The direction of the wind can make a full second and a half difference in track times,” predicted American pilot Michael Goulian, just moments before climbing into the cockpit.

Clocking his best time at 1:02.919, the American’s prediction was spot-on: an impressive 1.457sec quicker than his first run mere moments prior.

The American pilot qualified 6th, pitching him against Australia’s Matt Hall in tomorrow’s Round of 14. Matchups include:

Heat 1: Ivanoff vs. Kopfstein
Heat 2: Murphy vs. Muroya
Heat 3: Hall vs. Goulian
Heat 4: Chambliss vs. Le Vot
Heat 5: McLeod vs. Bolton
Heat 6: Velarde vs. Sonka
Heat 7: Dolderer vs. Brageot

Despite the middle-of-the-pack result, Goulian remains confident about tomorrow’s race. “We won Indianapolis from 7th place on the grid, so we can certainly win from 6th here. We will just wait and see. I just have to go do three more of those tomorrow.”

Goulian’s plan of attack for race day is simple and consistent: “The only plan is to fly well three times. I think people read more into this than there is. There’s no ‘I’m going to lay off’, ‘I’m going to go easy’, ‘I’m going to go hard’. I’m just going to do it the same every time and that’s as hard as I can do it. That’s the thing: to go out and fly as hard as I can and try to win.”

Follow all the race day action tomorrow, 16 June (7am EST) on redbullairrace.com/live

Upcoming Red Bull Air Race stops
15-16 June | Kazan, Russia
13-14 July | Lake Balaton, Hungary
7-8 September | Chiba, Japan

Content and images courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool.