Mike Goulian will not fly in Free Practice 2 due to damage sustained to his raceplane in FP1.
Championship leader Goulian hit the lower part of a pylon in the earlier session, which cracked his wingtip and due to the urgent repair needed he won't be able to fly until FP3 on Saturday morning.
"We were just trying to find the right angle, and I picked the wrong reference point, got way too deep in the corner, and then just hit the left wing because we had way too oblique of an angle. I hit the pylon pretty deep in the wing, so it flexed the winglet, and it made a crack in the trailing edge," explained Goulian from his hangar at the Race Airport.
Team Technician Warren Cilliers was on hand immediately to repair the wingtip as quickly as possible to get Goulian back up flying. "When he hit the pylon it pulled open the backside of the tip," said Cilliers. "The back of the wingtip is only one ply thick, so it's a bit soft anyway. I have to sand it back, and then lay up a couple of layers of resin to repair it, which will take a couple of hours. It's quick but it means it won't be dry in time for Free Practice 2."
Overseeing the entire repair is Red Bull Air Race Technical Director Jim Reed, who will have the final say if Goulian can fly tomorrow and get much needed track time. "After the layers of epoxy resin have been added it will take six to eight hours until it's cured, so he's [Goulian] not going to be able to fly in FP2, but he'll be able to fly in FP3 tomorrow," explained Reed. "I'll oversee the whole repair. So after it's been sanded, I'll check that all the prep work is adequate before the epoxy resin goes on and I will watch the carbon being put on. I will then verify that the cure is complete in the morning."
This is added pressure Goulian and his team could do without, but they are not letting it affect their mental strength. "It's no big deal," said Goulian. "It's just a matter of how much practice we'll get. It's just one of those things. We went into this week saying it won't be easy, and there will be unexpected things that will get in our way, and that's probably one of those things." Goulian concluded.