When Cristian Bolton stepped up to the Master Class for the final two races of 2016 he had to work quick to get a team together to support him. In the offseason the Chilean pilot decided to grow his team to be ready for the 2017 season. He didn't disappoint in his first race, getting through to the Round of 8. So how does he feel about his team?
In Abu Dhabi he returned with his team coordinator Dianne Louwrens – who assisted Paul Bonhomme in 2014 and 2015 – but he has now employed the skills of technician Marko Dragoje and race tactician Rodrigo Torres.
Dragoje is an aerospace mechanic and the youngest of Bolton's team. "He is full of energy and brings a lot of experience with him. He knows about composite material and electrical component, which are vital in this game," said Bolton. "He did an amazing job in Abu Dhabi setting up the raceplane how I needed it for the track. We are both learning to operate the Edge 540 v2 since we both are new to the raceplane, but I'm happy with the great work done by Marko."
Although happy with the work of Dragoje, Bolton is a fierce competitor and will want to improve his raceplane. He has plenty planned for Dragoje. "We need to change all the exterior parts of the raceplane to reduce the friction to make it faster. In Abu Dhabi we were almost 30 kilometers slower than the other teams and for this reason it was quite difficult to keep the speed in the track. We expect to have some small changes for San Diego, but the plane will be fully ready for Budapest. We are running late, but we will make it," explained Bolton.Marko Dragoje, Cristian Bolton Racing's technician. Photo: Balazs Gardi/RBAR
Rodrigo Torres is an aerospace engineer and has been brought into the team to help Bolton find the optimum line. "Abu Dhabi was the first time we worked together, and I just want to say he is brilliant!" Bolton said. "He has designed great track analysis software, along with his partner in Brazil, and has brought a better approach on how to fly the correct lines in the track. That's really a key point when you develop your strategy for the race weekend and it takes a lot of time before the race to find the best solutions. The result in Abu Dhabi shows by itself how important his work is in the team and I personally think we are becoming a great team. I was happy to see how we communicated during the analysis period and how we put the best of both our experience towards the best solutions."Rodrigo Torres and Cristian Bolton discuss tactics. Photo: Balazs Gardi/RBAR
Louwrens has been with Bolton since he first joined the Master Class, but she is an integral part of the team and he can't do with out her. "She is the boss!" Bolton said. "She is an amazing women and thanks to her constant work and dedication I can focus on flying. For me it's an honour to work with her as she has so much experience in the race and she has been the perfect guide for the team in many aspects," he added.According to Bolton, Dianne Lourwrens is the boss! Photo: Balazs Gardi/RBAR
The race in Abu Dhabi was a great start to Bolton's season, now that he has had time to reflect on his result, he believes he knows what he needs to do to make it to the Final 4. "As a Team we are more than happy with our season opener. Our goal is to at least be in the Round of 8 at every race. We need three things to improve to do better: teamwork, fast raceplane and pilot consistency. If we put these three aspects together we will be in the Final 4, and why not winning a race as well? We know we will start winning, but for now we are focused on becoming a competitive team. After that, the result will come by itself," concluded Bolton.
Bolton will be facing off against the 13 other Master Class pilots at round two in San Diego on 15-16 April. You can be there as tickets are still available. Buy yours HERE.