Canada's Pete McLeod does it again in Qualifying #2 as he breaks the 1:10 barrier to clock in a new track record. France's Nicolas Ivanoff pushes his way into second whilst Putrajaya winner Nigel Lamb is looking promising for another podium with a third place in the overall Qualifying rankings today.
McLeod put in a brilliant performance on Saturday to win Qualifying for the Red Bull Air Race on Sunday at the Ascot Racecourse, upsetting championship leader Hannes Arch of Austria as well as British pilots Nigel Lamb and Paul Bonhomme in front of an appreciative crowd of 22,000.
McLeod mastered the challenging course set up above the historic horse race track west of London on a bright but blustery day and posted a winning time of 1:10.698. France's Nicolas Ivanoff was second on 1:11.585 while Lamb took third in 1:11.842. Arch, who has won two of the first four races this season, was in fifth while the woes of reigning world champion Bonhomme continued as he finished a distant and disappointing seventh.
"I had a great time and I'm really happy with my position," said McLeod, who also won the Qualifying in Abu Dhabi where he got the first and only podium of his career with third place there. "I'm definitely satisfied with my performance today. I had a lot of confidence and executed my strategy. The race is going to be a battle against myself. I know my plane is fast enough."
Arch was flying extremely well in his second Qualifying run and was ahead of McLeod going into the fourth and final sector but missed an Air Gate and abandoned his run. "I lost a bit of concentration and got stuck at the wrong pylon and by the time I realised my mistake it was too late even," Arch said. "But I'm confident for the race on Sunday. I think I need the pressure. I've usually done well in the race when I had a bad day in Qualifying."
The 12 pilots in the world's fastest motorsport series delighted the big Qualifying Day crowd, fashionably dressed as they watched from the grandstands and grass terraces, as they roared past from the first standing start in the sport's history. The cheers were loudest for Britain's Bonhomme, who is second in the championship behind Arch, and Lamb, who is third overall. Both put in solid runs on the undulating course filled with trees, shrubbery, ponds and other obstacles.
Here are the official Masters Qualifying overall results: