First Red Bull Air Race, First Podium for Garmin Pilot McLeod
Nearly a year after the 2016 Abu Dhabi Red Bull Air Race opener was plagued with over-G penalties and unusual middle-eastern weather, the 2017 season opener kicked off in Abu Dhabi with sunny skies and eager pilots. Garmin sponsored pilot Pete McLeod of Canada returned to the circuit for the sixth season looking to improve on his seventh place finish in the 2016 world championship rankings. His dual G3X Touch-equipped black Zivko Edge 540 returned too, but adorned with a new arctic livery featuring the unmistakable Canadian maple leaf.
The week began with free practice runs where pilots were able knock off any rust that may have developed over the off-season, and polish their flight lines. On Friday, the pilots were officially clocked, with rankings given 1 through 14, for head-to-head matchups in the following Round of 14. A fourth best qualifying time positioned McLeod against 2016 World Champion Matthias Dolderer, who had put together an eleventh-best time in the qualifying round. Unfortunately, Dolderer bested McLeod in the Round of 14, but with the recent “Fastest Loser” rule in effect (the losing pilot with the best time in the Round of 14) allowed McLeod to advance into the Round of 8.
There he met American and Garmin ambassador Michael Goulian. With clean, penalty-free runs from both pilots, McLeod managed to edge out Goulian by just 8-thousandths of a second, advancing him into the Final 4.
The Final 4 field was rounded out by Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic, Juan Velarde of Spain, and McLeod’s Round of 14 opponent, Matthias Dolderer of Germany. Once the four pilots made their runs and the proverbial dust settled, the McLeod had captured third. Sonka and Velarde took first and second respectively, leaving Dolderer off the podium altogether.
With the first race of the season in the books, race pilots will take a two-month hiatus before descending on the sunny coast of San Diego for the second stop on the circuit, April 15-16. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the entire 2017 race tour!
The post First Red Bull Air Race, First Podium for Garmin Pilot McLeod appeared first on Garmin Blog.
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