Budapest delivers surprises in Round of 14

Nicolas Ivanoff in Budapest

Matt Hall seems almost untouchable as he blazed a trail into the second knockout round of Race Day in Budapest with 58.400 , while local hero Peter Besenyei is on form in front of a home crowd, and Nigel Lamb wins his heat thanks to a solid Qualifying performance.

It was another round of unpredictable racing action as the pilots were pitted head to head in the first knock-out round of the day in Budapest. Local hero Peter Besenyei felt the pressure of a return to a racing in front of a home crowd and as the first pilot out on the racetrack, In Heat 1 Besenyei had a tentative but error-free run, setting the bar at 1:01.070. Chambliss enjoyed a clean start and an aggressive first turn, but was off the pace in the first splits. In the closing moments of his run, the American pilot seemed to be edging towards the Round of 8. Chambliss saw the Round of 8 slip from his grasp in the last moments as he picked up two seconds for climbing in Gate 13, opening the door for a jubilant Besenyei.

"I'm happy with the run, as today's temperature was miuch higher than yesterday. I was just wondering how it would be in the track but everything went well. The timing compared to the temparature was quite ok," said Besenyei."The plane still needs a couple of flights. There are still a few issues that we have to solve in the near future"

Le Vot went into the track having faced technical issues with overheating, but the Frenchman pushed hard throughout the course and put in an error-free run for Heat 2. His knockout rival McLeod was but another clean run saw him scrub 3 seconds off Le Vot's time with 1:02.866.

Ivanoff had a bitter end to his Budapest stop in Heat 3 as an overly aggressive vertical turn earned him a DNF due to exceeding G. Nigel Lamb, having cited the Budapest race as a make or break point in his bid for the World Championship podium, just needed to get through the course and clock in a time. But it was a shock early finish for the Brit as chanegable winds saw him miscalculate his vertical turn, and follow Ivanoff with a DNF result. In the tie-break situation, the judges had to look back to yesterday's Qualifying results, and it was a lucky Lamb who scraped through into the Round of 8 based on his Qualifying time.

"I've just got to put that round behind me," said Lamb after landing at the race airport. "The plane can pull 14G, so it's hard to tell if you over-G. It just shows I was flying on the edge, if you're not on the edge you're not going to win."

In Heat 4, Spain's Juan Velarde looked nervous and seemed to be unhappy and unsettled as he appeared to continually readjust and reassess his lines throughout the course. An early penalty at Gate 2 meant that Velarde ultimately clocked in a 1:06.072. Arch seemed more relax and comfortable as he headed out into the track, with a more aggressive but controlled performance earning him 1:02.497 and seeing the Austrian through into the Round of 8.

Heat 5 kicked off with a calm and calculating Bonhomme, who appeared to handlethe pressure of his opening round with typical finesse, racing cleanly to 1:01.028. Martin Sonka faced one of the most important flights of his season so far, and a controlled performance saw him head into the green on the split times. But each slight adjustment scrubbed off time and though the Czech pilot fought hard to retain his lead, he ultimately couldn't quite match Bonhomme's pace. Sonka knocked Chambliss out of contention as a fastest loser, with two heats remaining.

Dolderer had been flying well all week and just needed to pull together a perfect peformance in just two laps in Heat 6. A clean and satisfactory run earned him 1:02.072 but Yoshi Muroya had been posing a real challenge all week, having posted a 59s result in Qualifying. The Japanese pilot couldn't repeat his Qualifying success though and return to form when it matterted, and his time of 1:02.279 prematurely ended Muroya's Race Day.

Goulian has been climbing the ladder all year and was determined to find the speed and precision that had earned him victory in the Hungarian capital in 2009.Despite putting everything on the line, Goulian picked up two seconds for incorrect level flying at Gate 10, finishing with 1:04.953. Matt Hall just needed an error-free performance, and with the Pinpoint altitude control and textbook flying that we've been seeing all week, Hall blazed a trail with a dominating run and the fastest time of the day by a clear margin, at 58.400.

"We worked out that the best tactic for me to was to race myself, so I put my fingers in my ears," said Hall when talking about his Round of 14 performance. "I knew Mikey's [Goulian] time, but I didn't back off because that's when you make mistakes, and if I make mistakes I'll lose my confidence going into the next round."

Besenyei, McLeod, Lamb, Arch, Bonhomme, Dolderer and Hall progress to the Round of 8, with Sonka also progressing as the fastest loser. Here are the official results from the Round of 14 in Budapest:

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