Michael Goulian and Team 99 last tasted victory in 2009, with a blazing win over Budapest, Hungary. This weekend, Goulian hopes to repeat that performance as the Red Bull Air Race World Championship returns to its birthplace for the first time in 6 years. With the 2015 season half complete, Goulian remains increasingly confidant in his team, his machine, and his flying.
Considered the “Monaco of Air Racing, the race course in Budapest is a thrilling high point of the 2015 season. The tight course over the famous Danube River creates stunning visuals as the competitors pass under the Chain Bridge at 200 knots, skimming just 20 feet above the river. Members of Parliament will bear witness to race airplanes performing a high G vertical turn in front of their storied building.
“Budapest is one of the places I love to fly,” said Goulian on his return to Hungary. “I feel comfortable here and comfortable in the track. I was at the Chain Bridge looking at the track and I just couldn’t help but feel excited,” he added.
Goulian enters the weekend with a carefully prepared strategy in hand. “It doesn’t really make a difference not having a chicane. It will make it a fast race and all the pilots will have to be careful about going over 10 Gs. No one can tell if they’re pulling 9.9G or 10.1G so there’s always a little bit of luck in the turn,” explained Goulian. “I was unlucky in Rovinj, but I’d rather pull too much G than be 1.5 seconds behind,” he added.
After two practice sessions on Friday, Team 99 is ready for battle this weekend. “I’ve always performed well in Budapest and I remember the routine I had when we were last here, so I’m just going to try and duplicate that. Race week is all about taking small steps and trying to get a rhythm. We, as a whole team, need to stay level. We don’t want to get crazy about the ups and downs. We’ll stay focused.”
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